With violence on the rise, police give tips to stay safe

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - In Waveland, there has been a string of violent crimes in the past month. A man was robbed and shot six times walking down the street. Two weeks later, a priest murdered, and that same week a bank was robbed by an armed suspect.

Police Chief Jimmy Varnell said, "It's very scary, you know. I was born and raised in Waveland. You used to be able to go off and leave your house open; it's not like that anymore."

Varnell said his officers are patrolling the streets more, but he wants residents to also take extra precautions to protect themselves.

"We need to get in the habit of locking our vehicles. Make sure your windows are locked. Make sure your doors are locked all the time. Think about getting alarms on your house," Varnell said.

When you leave your home Varnell said, "Be aware of your surroundings. Just look at the parking lot; see if there are any people hanging around. Have your keys ready."

If you do find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time the chief said the best advice is to do what they ask.

"Your life is worth a whole lot more than your wallet or watch. Don't try to fight them, that's for sure," Varnell said. "If anybody approaches you that you think is going to hurt you, don't be afraid to bring attention to yourself."

Also police say if you are able to dial 911, even if you can't talk, operators can track your location and will hear everything that happens.

Varnell said, "It appears violent crime may be on the increase, so you are just going to have to be on your toes all the time."

Chief Varnell also said if you have a weapon, make sure you are confident in using it because otherwise perpetrators could use that weapon against you.

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