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Jacksonville police to start bike patrol following increase in burglaries

(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff) (Source: KLTV Staff)

A rise in summer burglaries inspired one East Texas police department to add to their patrol units.

They've got two fewer wheels than your typical police patrol unit, but Jacksonville Police Chief Andrew Hawkes said mountain bikes could be the key to catching burglars in the city.

"We are getting killed on burglary of vehicles and burglaries," Hawkes said.

Hawkes said burglaries are up 70 percent compared to this time last year. He said they are all happening in the eastern part of the city.

 "Right in this business district, right through here on 79. There are some strip centers and they are hitting all of those," Hawkes said.

Police believe businesses and unlocked car are the main targets.

"They are prying the back door open or going through a window or a drive-through window," Hawkes said.

Hawkes said the crimes are typically happening at night and he believes the criminals are traveling on foot.

"Checking these back alleys at night...we are not seeing any suspicious vehicles in the area moving around,” Hawkes said.
Hawkes said these new additions will give officers an edge in their patrol.

"They can maneuver into these smaller alleys, places where vehicles can't go, and also they can remain a lot quieter than if they are pulling up at night in a car with headlights on," Hawkes said.

Two officers will go to week-long training for the bike patrol on August 28.  The Jacksonville Police Academy Alumni is planning to purchase two more bikes for the department patrol division.

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