St. Andrews residents fight to keep neighborhood safe despite recent burglaries

St. Andrews residents fight to keep neighborhood safe despite recent burglaries

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Recent burglaries have some in Jackson County on edge.

Residents of the St. Andrews community have had the character of their neighborhood challenged.

"You walk down the street, everybody waves, walk their dogs, ride their bikes," said Erin West. "It's a real community."

But one week ago, she was burglarized while enjoying a cup of coffee.

"Violated and horrible because the truck that stole it was full of other things covered with a blanket," said West. "To know that I might not be the only one, that they're going around and stealing from my neighbors, my friends during Christmas time [is] a horrible feeling."

West was fortunate neighbor Dana Ross saw the crime happening.

"I did see the cooler sticking out of the back of the truck," Ross said. "And some other things just hanging over the sides of the truck. It just didn't seem right, it wasn't garbage day."

Some residents say the burglaries are an ongoing problem, and others think they're random acts related to the holidays. But, all agree it's not a reflection of the neighborhood - it's a reflection of the times. and any safe, quiet neighborhood could be a target.

Regardless, neighbors don't want to be scared. They want to be prepared. West is learning how to shoot a gun for the first time in her life, but she's also helping all the neighborhood stay strong.

"It's a very safe neighborhood and we plan on keeping it that way," West said. "So that's why we want to go over the our rules and regulations and bring the community back together and revamp our neighborhood watch."

Kristin Stephens has been a resident of the community for 13 years. She isn't a victim, but believes the burglaries have a residual effect.

"We do feel very secure here in St. Andrews, but it does. It kind of shakes you a little bit and makes you start to wonder if they are creeping into our neighborhood," said Stephens.

The Neighborhood Watch meeting will be part of the St. Andrews annual Christmas Party at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Fountainbleau Community Center.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.