• Carey Meitzler

Picayune Police Department urges residents to take precautions this time of year


Picayune Police Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri and Captain / Field Operations Commander Dusty Moeller would like to remind residents of some safety issues and concerns as we approach Halloween and the holiday shopping season. In addition, they stated some common sense things residents can do to deter thefts in relation to auto burglaries.

While vehicle burglaries are down lately, Magri warned that residential crime tends to pick up this time of year.

“People begin to take some vacations as we approach this time of year and thieves tend to start watching for houses with no activity. We encourage residents to either have someone checking on their residences when they are going out of town, and set a timer to turn items on and off in the home that will give an indication that someone is there,” Magri said.

“Also, if someone is going to be out of town, let us know here at the police department and we will do a residence check while they are gone. The big things that criminals look for is mail piling up or no sign of activity such as lights, people coming and going, and noise from a residence like a TV or even a radio. They are a few simple things one can do to deter thieves. Criminals will bypass a well lighted yard. Lights that have motion sensors are a great tool.”

Vehicular burglaries tend to pickup during the shopping season according to Moeller.

“Burglars are not going to go through the trouble of breaking out a vehicle window in almost all cases. They don’t want to draw attention to themselves. What they look for is real simple. They go from car to car doing a door handle pull to find a door unlocked. Once in, then can quickly grab items that are visible and they have access to your trunk now with the simple action of pushing a trunk release button. Ninety-five percent of the time there is no evidence of forced entry in vehicle burglaries, “ Moeller explained.

“The neighbor of a victim puts his neighbor at a disadvantage when he has lights on at his house. Thieves hate light and will go to the next house as was stated. What we are saying is everyone can help reduce the likelihood of a burgarly by doing a few simple things and outside lighting is a great place to start.”

Magri added that prevention is easy.

“The best defense is simple. Number one, do not leave valuables, shopping bags, guns, and anything that a burglar would view as quick cash in the open. The other is lock your doors. Hit the remote or power lock button to lock the doors.

It’s just lazy not to push a button if you have one. I saw an online post that called it the ‘Magic Button' for crime prevention, “ Magri stated.

Halloween is just days away,and Moeller pointed out a big no-no.

“You will not be allowed in any type of business with a mask on, no matter what. If we see it, we are going to investigate. It’s simple for us because this is how some robberies occur is people appearing to be in costume when they are actually using it to commit a crime. We will not tolerate this,” he stated.

Traffic is the biggest problem at Halloween.

“We have to deploy officers as some places like the Woods subdivision and Millbrook because of the traffic congestion. We will have just about everyone deployed for Halloween to keep people as safe as possible. Some people may not realize that Halloween night has more people out, more pedestrians than any other night,“ Moeller said.

Magri said prevention is a key when it comes to having a fun, safe experience.

“First, try to have some type of reflective clothing or a bag with you. Also, carry a small flashlight and keep it on. Another big thing is to take your time and encourage everyone else to do the same. Like Captain Moeller said, this is the busiest night of the year on our streets for the potential for accidents for pedestrians with so many people being out and about. Slow down and be cautious, “ Magri said.

Also, be conscious of a few simple signs that could prevent problems for youngsters.

“If you come upon a home on Halloween night that is not lit up, especially the front porch area, avoid it and go to the next one that is lit up. Some folks choose not to observe trick or treating and that’s a sign to skip their house. Also, it prevents danger for the little ones because they don’t know what could be there in the yard as they walk through it. It’s just plain old common sense,” said Magri.

Magri recommends that trick or treaters try to wrap up their activities by 8:30 pm. He said it’s not a law, but just a recommendation, plus Magri said it is a school night.

“Also, do not allow your children to eat their treats while out trick or treating. Wait til you get home and inspect the candy piece by piece.”

Moeller shared, “We want everyone to enjoy themselves. Just be aware of what’s going on around you. The police department is here to help you and remind you.”

Magri also said during this time of the year, the department will ramp up safety checkpoints for DUI.

“Make sure that if you are partaking of alcohol, please have a designated driver. We can’t stress that enough. We are out there to keep the roads safe,” Magri said.


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