GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Burglars are hitting about 50 homes every couple of months in Orange Grove, according to police. Gulfport police have made 15 arrests since the end of December. But, burglaries in neighborhoods along Dedeaux and O'Neal Roads aren't going down.
"They're not isolated just to one area as they were before. They're starting to spread out a little bit more," Sergeant Chris Ryle said.
Residents of the Briarwood West Subdivision say the activity trickles into their neighborhood. But, they say burglars are actually showing up a lot less often.
Sarah Elder, a community block captain under Gulfport's community watch program, said they've developed a system that's working.
"If there's a problem, we start talking about it and we start keeping watch. They step up the patrol here, and we tell them what time they need to watch out," Elder said.
Most of the burglaries, according to police, occur during the day or when people are out of town.
"We are asking if there are neighbors who do not work, work at night or up during the day, to pay attention to what's going on. You know who's supposed to be in your neighborhood and who's not," Ryle said.
The neighborhoods are located in Councilman R. Lee Flowers' ward. He said neighborhoods that don't work to protect their properties will end up paying one way or another.
"If they cause these problems, we're either going to have to pay for them because we're re-placing stolen goods or we're going to have to put them in jail. And we're going to have to pay for them in jail. We'd prefer they'd straighten up. But they won't do it as long as they get away with it," Flowers said.
All the more reason police say they need a partner in the people of the affected communities to keep burglars out.
Police say another issue they're trying to address is that 85 to 90 percent of arrests are young people under the age of 18.
To protect your property, Gulfport Police suggest residents look into their C.A.P.E.R or Crime Against Property Education Registration Program. It teaches the importance of writing down serial numbers and other helpful information on how to keep your items from being stolen and steps to take if they are.