Business burglaries could see summer spike

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Royce Matthews and Roy Parks businesses may not have much in common.

Matthews' Tastee Cookie Company has been open a year. Parks' Benning Auto Parts has been in business for more than half a century.

Yet both are dealing with the rising cost of preventing burglaries -- as both have fallen victim in the past week. "Windows knocked out, vandalism, people going inside, stealing various little things," Parks said.

Matthews and Parks stories are not unique.

There have already been 187 business burglaries in Columbus this year, an average of more than one per day.

But Columbus Police say the numbers could get worse because crimes like burglary tend to increase during the summer months.

In fact, the numbers we're seeing this year are relatively low.

In a Columbus Police Department statistical analysis obtained by WTVM, there have been fewer business burglaries so far in 2010 than there were this time last year. Click here to view the statistics.

But, that doesn't ease the fear of the 379 Columbus business owners who have fallen victim to burglars since September 1st, 2009.

"I'm just looking at it as a reminder to be proactive and to try to better safeguard my business," Matthews said.

"Even with stepped up police patrols that we have, it just doesn't seem to be curtailing it at all," Parks said.

Last year, about 15% of all Columbus burglaries were reported at businesses.

This year, that number stands at about 14%.

However, according to a 2008 Columbus Police Department annual report, burglary and theft have the have the highest amount of unsolved crimes within the department, at 68%.

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.