Despite prior assurances by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office that there has not been an increase of burglaries in county towns, at least 70 people attended a recent meeting on the subject at the Glen Volunteer Fire Department.
The meeting was organized by Glen residents Jason Mormile and J.D. Downing. The sheriff’s department responded to a security system alarm at Mormile’s house in August, which appears to have thwarted a burglary attempt. Downing said the homes of his mother and brother have both been broken into within the past three years. These incidents and a frenzy among area residents on social media this summer inspired them to organize the meeting.
They were both surprised at the attendance, which illustrates that while there may not be a dramatic increase in the number of burglaries there is enough of a problem that residents are seriously concerned.
Sgt. Thomas Flickinger, of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office attended the meeting. According to Flickinger, since January there have been two burglaries in the Town of Glen, four in the Town of Florida and one in the Town of Charleston. Of these, four have been solved, one refused to file a report and two are still open.
Those crimes — along with the break-ins that occurred in 2016 including one in the Town of Florida where the homeowners’ two dogs were shot and killed — are enough to put people on edge.
It’s a situation that needs to be corrected.
A lack of communication from Sheriff Michael J. Amato’s department to the community is a large part of the problem. Flickinger’s presence at the meeting helped alleviate some concerns, something Amato should have done sooner.
“I think … the general consensus so far is there is a breakdown of communication between the sheriff’s office and the community,” Mormile said.
He’s right. And it needs to change.
Residents can help deter crime as well by organizing neighborhood watch groups and following the lead of Mormile and Downing to schedule similar meetings in other towns, but the Sheriff’s Office should be doing everything possible to deter crimes through increased patrols and alleviate concerns by having an active role in the communities they serve.