HORN LAKE, MS - Is it a sign of the times or are crimes of opportunity proving too much for prowling thieves to resist? Horn Lake police have seen a rash of property thefts over the last few weeks. Everyone's pointing to the economy as the reason behind it.
"I've arrested people for burglaries who will tell me they had to do it, they're out of work and they've got to feed their family," says Lt. Scott Evans with the Horn Lake Police Department.
Lt. Evans says as the economy's gotten worse, people are taking desperate measures to make money.
"We've seen everything from laptops being stolen to purses and billfolds with identities in them," he says. "We've also seen thefts of money, cds, cologne, you name it."
More than a dozen car thefts have happened in Horn Lake over the last two weeks, particularly in a neighborhood off Tulane Road.
"We've got somebody walking through the neighborhood checking doorhandles," Lt. Evans says.
Officers say these types of crimes can happen anywhere given the right opportunity. In fact, all of the recent ones have occurred less than a mile from the police station.
"The police department's just right there," says homeowner David Roach.
He's quick to point out that hasn't stopped people from looking through his stuff. One of his cars has been broken into and someone's taken the cover off his boat
"I have no idea if it's just random vandalism, or if it's kids looking to get a little extra cash at a pawn shop," Roach says.
He doesn't leave anything out in the open or unlocked, but one of his neighbors does.
"We have plenty of Horn Lake cops who come by here," says Dixie Wiggins, "and that makes me feel safe."
Wiggins hasn't had anything stolen, and she feels fine leaving her car unlocked. But Lt. Evans says their police presence is not always a safety guarantee.
"We just don't live in a day and age where you can leave things unlocked and unsecured," he says. "Lock your car."