SUGAR LAND, Texas - Sugar Land police chief Doug Brinkley is rolling out a new initiative aimed at reducing break-ins at homes and businesses.
The city is enjoying some of the lowest crime rates in its history. In a report to City Council, Brinkley reported the city's crime rate over the last five years dropped 18 percent involving assault, auto theft, burglary, homicide, theft, robbery and auto theft.
However, Brinkley also pointed out the city's crime rate last year rose by 8.6 percent.
Brinkley attributes most of the increase to a rise in break-ins at homes and businesses.
"Crazy, it's getting crazy," said Job Ratemo, whose pharmacy has been burglarized six times in less than two years. "I just hope the crime rate goes down."
Brinkley said he believes the people responsible for the burglaries in the city are a mix of teenage residents and those passing through the area.
"My home was broken into about two weeks ago and two of the people responsible were 17-year-old Sugar Land residents," said Brinkley.
Brinkley said Sugar Land's growth is pushing city limits closer and closer to major thoroughfares and surrounding cities.
"The lines between Sugar Land, Stafford, Missouri City are being blurred," said Brinkley. "It makes easier for criminals to come into the city and easier for them to get out."
Brinkley said he is rolling out a new community initiative to warn residents to be proactive when it comes to safeguarding their homes.
"About 16 percent of all our residential burglaries (had) unlocked doors, garage doors open," said Brinkley.
Brinkley also said many homes that were burglarized were equipped with alarm systems that had not been activated. Brinkley credits his home alarm with scaring off the two teens who broke into home before they stole anything.
"If you have a home alarm, turn it on when you leave and make sure your doors and garages are locked," said Brinkley.
Brinkley's report also cites a decrease in police response times. The report shows police response times averaged 2 minutes and 45 seconds in 2012, down from 4 minutes and 42 seconds in 2009.
"Sugar Land is a safe place, we just need to make sure it stays that way," said Ratemo.
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