Drug-Related Burglaries On Steady Increase

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Burglaries are on the rise in Payson, according to Payson Police Department statistics from 2005 and 2006.

This past week, there were two burglaries in Payson, both carried out by drug users stealing to support their habits.

The two who were arrested were Mesa residents, and both are charged with numerous crimes including burglary and theft from a parked vehicle.

"Vehicles are opportunistic and often are tied to the methamphetamine problem," Payson Police Commander Don Engler said.

According to available statistics, which run through the end of April this year, 26 burglaries had been reported compared to 17 at the same time the year before.

Until this year, the numbers had been going down.

In 2001, there were 118 burglaries in Payson, and Engler said the cause was mostly people stealing to support their methamphetamine habits.

But two years later, in 2003, there were only 66 burglaries, a number which continued to decrease in 2004 when only 51 burglaries were reported.

Engler said the high number in 2001 was before the department started to crack down on meth users and dealers.

He said when the PPD started its meth enforcement program, the number of burglaries and thefts dramatically decreased.

But in 2005, the number of burglaries began a slow increase. Fifty-seven were reported that year.

The cause for the most recent increase, he said, is the result of illegal drugs.

"We are starting to see again burglaries from those type of activities," he said.

However, not all burglaries are tied to drugs, he added.

"I think we see a lot of it tied to meth, but I would hate to say it's all tied to meth," Engler said.

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail mmaresh@payson.com.

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