By Ed Brock
While Jonesboro residents Angela and Antoine Taylor were at work earning their money, somebody broke into their house and stole some of the fruits of their labor.
"You work hard for what you have and someone comes in and in a matter of minutes takes it," Angela Taylor said. "It's almost like being raped."
So far this year there have been 991 burglaries in Clayton County, 830 of which were residential. There were 1,750 burglaries in 2002 with 1376 of them occurring at residences.
In Henry County from January to July there have been 368 residential burglaries this year, an increase from the same time period in 2002 in which there were 279 residential burglaries, Henry County police Lt. Joe Tammaro said. There was a 32-percent increase in burglaries that occurred between June 1 and July 31 of 2003 and the same time frame of 2002, with 104 cases this year.
"You have to factor in the growth, all the new homes we have," Tammaro said.
The season can also affect the numbers of crimes.
"We generally see an increase in residential burglaries in the summertime," Clayton County police Capt. Tim Robinson said.
Robinson attributes that increase to two main factors. Teen-agers and children are out of school so youthful offenders have more time on their hands and many people are away on vacation.
In Tammaro's experience, calls for police service in general tend to nosedive after New Year's Day, pick back up again in spring and crest in May and June. When school starts back in September the number of accidents increases.
"We do see crime go up before holidays," Tammaro said.
Of the 104 Henry cases in the past two months in which the time of day is known, 45 to 47 percent occurred in the daytime while about 22 percent happened under cover of darkness.
Of the cases in which the day of the week on which the incident occurred is known, most happened on a Monday and 59 percent occurred on a weekday, Tammaro said.
There are precautions people can take to make their home more burglar proof. Suspending newspaper and mail delivery while on vacation, leaving the lights on a timer or have a neighbor watch over the place.
"Just some common sense ideas," Robinson said.
Those precautions may not dissuade a dedicated burglar who takes the time to survey a house before breaking in, but they should discourage less professional, younger burglars.
The burglars who victimized the Taylors in mid-July overcame several precautions the couple had taken.
"We were shocked because we had Rottweilers in the yard
Not only did they make it past the dogs, the burglars struck when the Taylor's home security system was temporarily out of order.
Also, Taylor said a neighbor did see a suspicious person in the area for about a week prior to the burglary but didn't tell anybody until after the burglary occurred.
Notifying police about suspicious persons is one tip Allstate Insurance Company provides to its clients and the public.
Making sure the inside and outside of a house or apartment is well illuminated is another precaution from
Allstate, as well as the use of deadbolt locks and window locks and keeping valuables like paintings, stereo equipment and computers out of view from passers-by.
This incident was their first burglary, Taylor said, but they are making adjustments to assure it doesn't happen again. It was not Anthony Westmoreland's first time being robbed when somebody broke into his horse barn in Morrow two weeks ago. That didn't lessen his feelings of being violated.
"It's a nasty feeling," Westmoreland said.
When he first discovered the break-in the Riverdale man's first concern was not the few power tools that were taken but the safety of his daughter who was supposed to be checking on the barn that stands in an isolated area.
"For all I knew they might have kidnapped her," Westmoreland said.
In Westmoreland's case the burglars actually left behind several valuable items, including a television, a computer and saddles.
"They piled some stuff up by the back door and left the door open like they were coming back," Westmoreland said.
So he's moving all of his valuables to a storage facility and he's locked up the barn as much as possible, Westmoreland said.
"It's not going to be as convenient for them next time," Westmoreland said.