Catching burglars - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Catching burglars

Catching burglars is a priority for all Mid-South Police departments, but nabbing bad guys during a burglary in progress is a rare victory. More often than not, police respond A-S-A-P after the fact. We learn that As-Soon-As-Possible has many different meanings across Memphis and the Mid-South. If your home burglar alarm sounded, how long would it take police to arrive? In Memphis, Major Billy Garrett says the goal is three minutes, but it all depends on how busy police are at your moment of need. Garrett said, "If they're extremely busy---they've got other high priorities---they're responding to or they're tied up on scenes or whatever---it takes quite a bit of paperwork---time for them. That limits the availability of officers to respond." A report of a prowler or a burglar alarm becomes an immediate priority call for the M-P-D. But if the burglary is over and the bad guy is gone, the usual case, police say it's no longer an urgent emergency. Reformed burglar turned crime consultant Bob Portenier says bandits get in and out fast: "You can work pretty much unobserved, and all you need is 15-20 seconds and you are in the house. Now the thing about a burglar is---when you know what you are doing---and you're working with a partner where you don't have to tell him what to do---he knows---you can hit 4, 5, 6 houses in an hour, hour and a half." If that happened in Shelby County, outside the jurisdiction of Memphis Police, the Sheriff's web site says it would take 13 point 9 minutes for a deputy to arrive. In DeSoto County, the goal is 3 minutes, but it frequently takes 7. Deputies estimate the average response time is 5 minutes on a burglary call. Southaven, a much smaller geographic area than all of DeSoto County, says they'll have a cop on your doorstep within 2 minutes of a burglary call. Collierville says the average response time for 2004 was: 3 minutes 57 seconds, 51 seconds faster than 2003. A much larger geographic area, all of Tipton County, deputies say the response time is 8 to 12 minutes. Tipton is divided into three zones so deputies are strategically located to make response times quicker. Sheriff Bill Kelley of Fayette County says his deputies' response times vary. The sheriff encourages homeowners always to make it appear someone is at home. We tried to call several other Mid-South Police agencies but were unable to get their response times in time for this report. So, how much are you likely to lose in burglary? The Memphis average is more than $1,500 worth of stolen items per incident.
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