Monett Police Chief Tim Schweder has issued an advisory for area resident to be extra cautious this holiday season.
Since Oct. 1 of this year there have been 26 burglary reports," Schweder said. So far this year, there have been 86 reports. That's a 30 percent increase over last year."
Most of the burglaries were non-residential incidents, and for the most part, took place at night or when the building was unoccupied. All took place between Cleveland and Broadway Streets and 10th to Central Streets in Monett.
Several businesses were hit, including Drury University Monett campus, the City of Monett, the Monett School District, a construction company's office, an insurance office, a restaurant, a distributing company and The Monett Times.
"Burglaries are on the rise," Schweder said. "Larceny, or stealing, is also up by 20 percent so far this year, and auto theft is up by 40 percent."
Law enforcement officials think these burglaries are the work of an individual or a small group of people.
"It's the time of year when thefts go up," Schweder said. "Members of the Monett Police Department urge area residents to keep their doors and windows locked, and garage doors secured.
"One of the best ways to prevent or deter theft is to install an alarm system," Schweder continued. "People might also want to consider installing a camera system to capture intruders on video."
Schweder said most systems are easy to install. He also said many commercial alarm companies will install equipment for free as long as an annual contract with the company is maintained.
"We urge shoppers to keep gifts and packages in the trunks of their vehicles," Schweder continued. "Having your packages stolen can really put a dent in Christmas."
Most importantly, Schweder urges members of the community to keep a watchful eye out for their neighbors and friends and report any suspicious activity.
The Barry-Lawrence Chapter of Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for tips that lead to the arrest of those wanted for felony crimes. Tips may be submitted by calling 354-TIPS (8477) or toll-free at 1-888-635-TIPS (8477). Tipsters may remain anonymous.
Tips may also be submitted through the Barry-Lawrence Crime Stoppers website at www.blcrimestoppers.com. Web-based tips are ineligible for a reward.