BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY (June 1, 2015) - Law enforcement officials are warning residents in rural Bartholomew County to be alert and start neighborhood watch programs after a jump in burglaries and property theft in the area.
According to the Sheriff's Department, those two types of crimes were up by 64% in the first three months of the year. February was the worst month for crime.
"They'll go to the front door, they'll ring the doorbell. If somebody answers they'll say they're looking for a house or something. If nobody answers they'll go around the back and they'll kick the door in the back," explained Sheriff Matt Myers.
Myers believes one of the biggest factors is a growing drug problem in the county.
"We have the heroin. We have crystal meth... and these people get hooked on this stuff. They can't get away from it. And in order to supply their habit... they go out and steal or they burglarize," he explained.
Since there are only a handful of deputies on patrol any given day, Sheriff Myers is pushing for more community policing and urging residents to create neighborhood watch programs.
He also added that in some cases, a neighbor noticed something suspicious but did not report it until after the crime occurred. Myers is pleading with residents to call in strange activity, even if you're not sure if it's significant.