After vehicle break-ins in the Midlands, police encourage neighborhood watch groups but not vigilantes

Irmo Police Department representatives are saying the same thing. If you see something suspicious, they say they’re here to handle it.

One Midlands neighborhood is working together to stop car break-ins and other crimes

IRMO, SC (WIS) - After numerous vehicle burglaries around the in the Midlands, some residents say they’re ready to take action into their own hands.

“Everyone’s fed up,” Irmo resident James Sightler said.

Sightler has personally been affected by the recent burglaries. Just a few weeks ago, one of his vehicles was broken into - that’s why he volunteered to take up his own neighborhood patrols.

In addition to working, Sightler now spends his nights and early mornings keeping a lookout to make sure that criminals aren’t preying on his neighbors.

“Observe, report, and be aware,” he said.

While he’s a big advocate of the 2nd amendment, Sightler says when he comes across suspicious activity, he doesn’t engage - he calls law enforcement and observes from a safe distance.

“If you see something happening, or you even suspect something happening, pick up the phone,” he said. “Leave the gun alone, pick up the phone.”

Irmo Police Department representatives are saying the same thing. If you see something suspicious, they say they’re here to handle it.

“We do encourage neighborhood watches, and we do encourage people contacting us when they see something that’s out of line or suspicious,” Irmo Police Captain Courtney Dennis said. “We never want the citizens to put themselves in a dangerous situation. Let the professionals that receive the countless hours of training deal with that.”

Law enforcement officials say you can help protect your vehicle by removing valuables and locking your doors. But, if you have been burglarized, they need for you to call them before you post on social media.

“We see a lot of times on social media where citizens have seen something but didn’t report it until later on, through social media,” Dennis said. “So that information is getting to us kind of late.”

As for Sightler, he says he’ll continue to keep a lookout. But he’s asking anyone who’s planning to do the same, to play it safe.

“It’s 2018,” he said. “We have to be aware, but at the same time we have to vigilant, not a vigilante.”

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