(Springfield, MO) -- The Greene County Sheriff says residents are experiencing a surge in break-ins as the holiday weekend nears.
Sheriff Jim Arnott says the southwest and northeast portions of the county are experiencing the greatest spike in the crimes.
"Perpetrators often will go to the rear of target residences and force entry," he writes in a news release. "Burglars sometimes have a vehicle parked in the area or a companion drives the area waiting to pick up the perpetrator."
The sheriff is urging everyone to take reasonable steps to protect their property by locking doors and windows, removing valuables from plain view and recording serial numbers of personal property and recent holiday purchases.
You're asked to report all suspicious persons and vehicles with a description by calling 911. Be sure to hold onto license numbers of suspicious vehicles if you can.
Sheriff Arnott says Greene County sheriff's deputies will respond to all reports.
Cpl. Matt Brown with the Springfield Police Department joined KOLR/KOZL Thursday morning to offer additional tips. He says the fewer hiding spots you have in your yard, the better chance you have of the burglar looking elsewhere.
"If they can't find someplace to hide, they're less likely to go to your house."
He says trim your bushes and keep those holiday lights bright.
"If you're well lit, he can't walk around. It's going to be a lot harder for them."
He says criminals don't like to break doors and windows, so keep everything locked and secure -- including your vehicle.
"Lock your vehicle. We've been saying that for years. Take your valuables from inside your car and lock your trunk. That will deter 85 percent of criminals."
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