DA’s office acts to deter criminals

Published 4:37 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

According to preliminary data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, both burglaries and thefts of property increased from last year, up by over half a percentage point in each case.

The crimes are as old as civilization itself.

And while some would argue that these crimes are “petty” since they do not involve acts of violence against a person, there’s nothing petty about a man, woman, or child having their rights to property violated by thieves and burglars.

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The District Attorney’s office for the 2nd Judicial Circuit agrees. District Attorney John Andrews, whose jurisdiction comprises Butler, Crenshaw, and Lowndes Counties, has instituted a mandatory 12 months in prison for anyone convicted of burglary, theft or receiving stolen goods.

That includes first time offenders as well. First time offenders, previously, received probation, said Andrews.

Sheriff Kenny Harden supports the new policy.

“That’s been a problem we’ve had,” said Harden. “People who steal and get in trouble get right out. We’ve got to have some type of deterrent in place to prevent them from stealing again.”

And shoplifters should be wary as well. In 2001, it was reported that shoplifting costs U.S. retailers $25 million a day. Frequent shoplifting has an effect on the average American consumer because retailers can raise prices in order to compensate for lost revenue.

Consider the case of shoplifting going unchecked: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in December 2008 that rampant shoplifting caused one 80-year-old neighborhood grocery store to close its doors.

We applaud the District Attorney’s tough stance on convicted thieves and burglars and hope it acts as a deterrent against these crimes.