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Published January 21. 2010 05:00PM

A number of home burglaries in several local communities has been occurring lately. They're happening within the towns where houses are close together.

Some will argue that it's because of the poor economy that such crimes seem to be increasing locally. Others might point to drug use.

Whatever the reason, the break-ins are a reality. They're causing distress emotionally and financially to the victims. They're making people nervous.

It's just a matter of time before they become violent - either by the burglars catching unsuspecting residents inside their homes or by the occupants fighting back.

The police need the public's help in this matter. Although in many towns, police are increasing patrols, only when folks choose to get involved will the burglars get caught and their antics are brought to a halt.

This means keeping vigilant in your neighborhood. It means letting the police know is something suspicious is happening. It means being willing to testify if you can positively identify the culprits.

Sometimes individuals don't testify for fear of reprisal. All this does is embolden the criminals. Standing up to them is the better defense.

The burglars have especially been active in the Panther Valley area.

Catching the misfits isn't enough. When they are caught, hopefully judges will be tough on them so they get the message not to repeat their antics and so others see that crime doesn't pay.

Residents also must do what they can to deter burglars. They must keep lights on in their homes, even when not home. They need night lights. A security system is always a good investment.

Most of all, don't boast about your collectibles and valuables. Word gets around, sometimes to the wrong people.

Residents working together, and willing to watch out for each other, is the best defense against burglars.

By Ron Gower

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