Surfside Beach cuts number of burglaries in half

Surfside Beach cuts number of burglaries in half

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – FBI crime statistics are released every year, but sometimes those numbers can be misleading.

When looking at the Surfside Beach Police Department, reporting 86 burglaries in 2015 may seem like a large number for such a small town.

However, it is one of the top crimes the Surfside Beach Police Department insists on stopping before they happen.

That is why they took those numbers from last year and chopped them in half.

"Last year by the calendar year, we had 73 burglaries and we have 40 at this time," said Surfside Beach Police Lt. Kenneth Hofmann. "The total number was 86 for 2015 but we are at 40 right now."

Hofmann said it's important to note 100 percent of those burglaries from both years were not connected to violent crimes.

Instead, suspects were hitting unoccupied homes.

Debbie Garber moved to Surfside Beach last year and said she felt safe from day one.

"Right away, no problem at all, because you always see the police coming and riding down the street," Garber said.

It's not just the police department keeping watch; neighbors are also keeping tabs.

"In fact, when I go home, they will say, 'Well we knew you were gone because your windows weren't up,'" Garber said about her neighbors. "They check things out; they check things out all the time."

This is something Hofmann said is priceless when it comes to keeping these neighborhoods safe.

All it takes is one phone call that could end up being the one that solves a string of burglaries.

This year, law enforcement has been able to charge one man with half of the total burglaries.

Still, police advise residents not to become easy targets.

"We always encourage lighting, lighting, lighting," Hofmann said. "Motion censor lighting, anything that they can do to make the dark light is the No. 1 thing to stop that."

Above all, Hofmann wants people to know they can count on Surfside Beach officers.

"Trust your police department," he said. "You have a police department that really cares about what's going on. We are confident in our line officers that are out there every day looking out for these things."

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.