String of burglaries worries residents

HOUSTON Those homeowners are raging mad, saying their neighborhood has been hit repeatedly by burglars, and they want the sheriff's department to do something to stop it from happening.

Homeowners admit they've become paranoid, hearing stories from neighbor after neighbor about a burglary here, a break-in there over the last couple of months. They're starting a neighborhood watch group, but beyond that they want to know what else they can do to protect themselves.

When Lira Galindo moved to Houston from Columbia five years ago, she says she did it to escape crime.

Now she says it's found her again. She said, "This is a not a place I can sleep very well. I'm concerned every night. I check my door, I look (over my shoulder.) I don't feel OK. I don't feel OK and I'm wondering what is the police doing regarding that."

Galindo and others say there's been a rash of break-ins in the Copperfield subdivision in the last two months.

"Basically we need more people patrolling our neighborhood," said homeowner Juan Corea.

Homeowners say they already pay extra, more than $600,000 a year, for sheriff's patrols.

"I'm paying for safety. It's not enough," said Galindo. "Who's controlling these people?"

The statistics, though, at least in Copperfield itself, don't support resident concerns. The Harris County Sheriff's Office says residential burglaries are actually down 11 percent for the first six months of this year compared to 2008.

"I don't think there's a problem with burglaries in there, inasmuch as there's a problem with burglaries everywhere," explained Captain J.D. Glesmann with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Vehicle burglaries are however up 27 percent. The sheriff's office says 10 deputies and a sergeant work the contract they have with Copperfield, but that at any given time only two are usually on duty.

"No, sir, I wouldn't think it'd be enough," said Captain Glesmann.

Captain Glesmann says it's hard for them to be everywhere in a community of four square miles and as many as 22,000 residents. He says that is like policing a small city with just two officers.

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