Police: 383 Burglaries in Danville in 2012, Down From Last Year

Danville, VA - Police in Danville say there has been at least one burglary in the city almost every day this year. But that number is actually down from last year.

Now, police are hoping one the newest units in the department will help stop those crimes before they happen.

Danville Police introduced the Street Crimes Unit in April as a way to prevent crime.

After seven months of working the streets of Danville, they are hoping to continue their efforts to crack down on burglaries.

"This year they're sporadic. They're just hitting everywhere, " said Lieutenant Scott Eanes with Danville police.

Eanes says the number of break-ins this year has reached 383, and police are only expecting it to get worse through the holidays.

"Most of the stuff that is stolen is TV's, laptop computers, jewelry, firearms. And every year, it spikes between Thanksgiving and Christmas, " Eanes said.

"Hopefully our presence has been a deterrent to stop some of these crimes, " said Cpt. Tommy Merricks.

Merricks is in charge of the Street Crimes Unit which developed out of Danville PD's "Safe and Sound Neighborhoods" initiative.

His unit is designed to stop crimes before they happen by having their feet on the ground on the streets of Danville.

"Street crimes officers are not assigned to a beat, they are not tied to a radio. They can focus on areas that we feel that may be a problem, " said Merricks.

Police believe the Unit - comprised of 20 officers - has played a major role in the decrease in break-ins this year from 2011.

But as Christmas approaches, they are hoping for the community's help.

"We want them to call us too because we thrive on community support and community information. You can give us a call, you can remain anonymous, but we like to know what's going on in the neighborhoods, " Merricks said.

Eanes says you can help protect your home by being mindful of what you throw out in the trash. Instead of leaving the large boxes your electronics and appliances came in sitting by the curb, cut them into small pieces and dispose of them discreetly.

If you have any tips, questions or comments for the Danville Street Crimes Unit, call (434) 799-5212.