It’s just not Mayberry anymore

February 23, 2013

By Mark Wilson

No one likes it to hear it, but the number of local burglaries and thefts grew in 2012.

The statistics ebb and flow from year to year, but the number of incidents went up for Hood County as well as the city of Granbury.

The numbers provided by the Sheriff’s Office show burglaries went from 125 in 2011 to 168 last year, while thefts rose slightly, from 360 to 375.

The Granbury Police Department statistics showed that thefts jumped from 289 to 425, while burglaries also moved upward, from 74 to 98. Fortunately we’re still relatively low on the spectrum of major violent crimes, including one murder charge.

One of Granbury’s many small business owners was victimized a couple of weeks ago with an overnight burglary, at Lone Star Barber Shop on South Morgan Street.

A window was damaged, and a broken neon sign needs to be replaced, but the losses (gift cards, a few dollar coins) were not devastating.

The estimated property loss – $578 – seemed to be eclipsed by the feelings stirred up by the invasion.

TOWN’S GROWN

“Granbury used to be a little bitty town our grandparents grew up in and didn’t lock their doors,” said Pieper Barkley, who has been cutting hair in that location for several years. “But it’s not like that anymore. It’s made me a little more aware.”

Her words made me recall a string of incidents not long ago in the Tolar area that surprised me.

Residents were reporting items had been taken from their homes while they were gone.

But the fact that burglaries were committed in Tolar wasn’t the surprising part. That came when I was informed that most of the burglars had entered the homes through unlocked doors.

A few months before that, there was a series of vehicle burglaries across Hood County. Sheriff Roger Deeds said at that time that the majority had been left unlocked.

Aside from simply getting in the habit of always locking doors, there are other factors to consider.

SECURITY NOT THAT COSTLY

Granbury Police Chief Mitch Galvan and Deputy Chief Alan Hines recently noted that security camera systems in use at businesses often produce images of extremely poor quality that don’t help officers in compiling a good suspect description.

They added that prices on decent surveillance camera equipment is not terribly expensive these days – especially when compared with the potential losses that can occur.

Barkley expanded on her comment about business owners – along with the rest of us – becoming more aware of changes they can make, such as installing better locks.

“We take a lot of things for granted,” Barkley said. “We might need to be more vigilant, seeing what improvements we can make.”

Barkley lived for 15 years in North Carolina – the location of the fictional but iconic small-town paradise depicted in The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry. Sheriff Andy Taylor didn’t wear a gun holster, and Deputy Barney Fife had only one bullet – which he was instructed to keep in his shirt pocket.

“It grew,” Barkley said of her former town in North Carolina. “It was the same thing. People had to start locking their cars, locking their doors. We don’t want to think about (crime) happening to us – but it does happen. And it probably happens more than we realize.”

She cautioned that she thinks “we’ve gotten lax” in paying attention to important details that, if improved in advance, could help prevent a break-in or theft.

She also suggested looking out for each other more.

LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER

“People can help people, and we need to get back to that,” she said. “I think people are generally good. But we can all look out for one another, too.”

Despite the break-in, she’s not giving up on Mayberry – I mean Granbury.

“It hasn’t changed. Granbury has a lot of good people, but there’s going to be a few people everywhere that are going to make good people look bad or the town look bad.”

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