Starkville Police Department sees increase in teen car burglaries

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) –  Car burglaries have become a common theme in Starkville.

Behind those crimes were mostly juveniles, according to Starkville Police Chief Mark Ballard.

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“Auto burglary is the largest felony committed in the city of Starkville,” said Chief Ballard. “It is over 60% of what we work. That’s a lot of resources a lot of manpower put into that.”

Ballard said he wanted to do something now before it’s too late.

“The more difficult challenge to that is a lot of these auto burglaries result in stolen weapons that is turning into the hands of a kid onto the street,” said Chief Ballard. “And that’s why I have asked for us to let’s have this discussion let’s talk about it. We need help in correcting our juvenile system.”

Ballard said he feared that an incident involving a juvenile and an officer, could one day turn tragic.

“If you put a gun, a stolen weapon in the hands of a 15 or 16-year-old that is being approached by law-enforcement, It runs a very real risk of going badly a tragedy. Either one the law-enforcement is going to end up having to take the child’s life, or the child is going to end up killing a law-enforcement officer. Or a citizen coming out to approach to see what is going wrong.”

Starkville Detective Scott Lomax said one of the best crime deterrents was an involved parent.

“Parents do need to know where your kids are at all times,” said detective Lomax. “You know, I understand you know, when you go to bed you are going to have those juveniles that do sneak out and may not listen to what you say. But parents need to step up and take a part of their child’s life and assist us at assisting the juveniles themselves.”

Police asked the public to report anything they deemed suspicious.

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