By Amy Wenk

A rash of residential burglaries in southern Sandy Springs this summer has people worried.

“I am concerned,” said Sandy Springer Katrina Mabon, who was one of more than 40 people who attended a Sept. 27 meeting about residential burglaries. A similar meeting on Sept. 1 drew more than 100 apprehensive homeowners.

“We’ve had a break-in in our neighborhood,” said resident Anne Parr, referring to a recent home invasion that occurred near her house. “That heightened my concern. … Someone was attacked.”

From June 1 to Aug. 31, there were 74 home burglaries in southern Sandy Springs, the area covered by City Council Districts 3, 5 and 6. In the same period last year, there were 78 burglaries in those districts.

Although the number is down slightly, police are alarmed because they say there has been a spike in the number of burglaries in recent weeks.

“We are not going to sugar-coat anything,” said Officer Tim Burell, who led the meeting sponsored by the High Point Civic Association. “Property crimes are hard crimes to clear up.”

Burell said the crimes usually involve one to two suspects, who ring the doorbell to see if homeowners are present.

“A lot of these burglars are hitting during the day, when you are not home,” Burell said.

If no one answers, the burglar goes to the back of the home to break in. They grab visible items like electronics, jewelry and silverware. The burglary takes two to three minutes, Burell said.

“They are kicking in back doors,” Burell said. “They are looking for the easiest way in.”

Burell said police officers are conducting road checks on Windsor Parkway, High Point Road and Northland Drive. Officers also are patrolling the area in plain clothes.

“We are checking the area,” Burell said. “We want to see who’s in your community.”

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Sandy Springs police suggest homeowners take these steps to protect themselves and their property:
  • Get to know your neighbors and have them check on your home and pick up mail when you are out of town.
  • Establish a neighborhood watch. Don’t be afraid to call 911 if you see anything suspicious.
  • Test your alarm system every three months to ensure it is working. Keep your alarm armed when you are at home.
  • Install locks on your windows and doors.
  • Place “Beware of Dog” signs in your yard even if you don’t have a dog.
  • Write down the serial numbers and take photos of your valuable items. Having that information can make it easier to locate stolen items.
  • Purchase apparatuses that fit in door jams to help prevent people from kicking in doors. Those devices are available at www.asafehome.net.
  • Take valuable items like GPS devices and computers out of your car when you park.
  • If you see a suspicious car in your neighborhood, take a picture of the license plate with your cell phone and call 911.
  • If you hear something unusual outside your house, press the panic button on your car keys to draw attention.
  • Never open the door to someone you don’t know. Carry your cell phone to the door and speak through the door to the person.
  • Ask police officers to conduct security checks at your house. Find the request form at police.sandyspringsga.org.
  • Sign up for free classes at the Sandy Springs Police Department, such as the women’s self-defense course, the Citizens Police Academy and the gun safety course.
  • Sign up for the real-time alert system, Nixle, which sends emergency alerts to cell phones. Visit www.nixle.com.