Economy having an impact on Crime in Kennett

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - No cities in Region 8 are immune to the financial struggles many have seen over the past couple of years.  Officers in Kennett say they are seeing an increased number of home break-ins, petty theft and threats of suicide.  The city's police chief said he believes all three are linked.

"Anything they can get their hands on," said Kennett Police Chief Barry Tate.

Kennett Police Chief Barry Tate said the amount of petty theft in his city is on the rise.

"We had a couple burglaries in the same area where they entered the house and some items were stolen even one from right off the bedside where they were sleeping," said Tate.

He said they're not seeing major burglaries but small crimes. "We've had a lot of thefts from vehicles they steal CD's," said Tate.

Tate said he believes the increase in crime all ties back to the economy.

"We've just got so many people who are out of jobs right now.  It just seems like the people you don't usually deal with are turning to crime," said Tate.

He said they're seeing younger people stealing.

"There's really no individual or one person we see all walks of life," said Tate.

More calls are coming in from people reporting crime or suspicious activity.

"Committing a crime is only going to make matters worse," said Tate.

Tate said most of the thefts are classified as misdemeanors.  For those struggling to make ends meet crime doesn't pay.  If convicted, you could face a fine from $250 to $500.

"People are without jobs.  They're desperate.  A lot of people are down on their luck," said Tate.

"Sometimes people will act out.  They may commit a petty theft just so they can get help," said Family Counseling Center Suicide Prevention Coordinator Shirleen Sando.

"We had two in less than an hour last Friday of people wanting to commit suicide," said Tate.

Tate said they haven't had any suicides in Kennett and he believes in many cases folks are reaching out for help.

"There has been an increase of people reaching out for help not only adults but children as well," said Sando.

Prevention Program Director Jessica Howard said there are many signs you can watch for in your friends and family members.

Some of the signs include:

Talking, reading or writing about suicide or death

Talking about feeling worthlessness or hopeless

Saying things like, "I'm going to kill myself"

Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

Giving things away

A sudden interest in drinking alcohol

Purposefully putting oneself in danger

Obsessed with death, violence, or knives

Previous suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

There is a number you can call if you need help:  1-800-356-5395

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