Task Force Tackles Theft

When Renitra Matthews moved into her house on 36th Avenue in Meridian eight months ago, she was excited. She was transitioning from an apartment to her own house for the first time.

But that excitement turned to frustration and fear. Since Christmas, she says she has been the victim of burglary three times. Matthews said her house was broken into once, her car another time, and her daughter's bike was stolen from the yard. She says many of her neighbors have also been hit.

"This is scary, that this keeps happening," Matthews said. "And these people are bold enough to keep coming back."

That's why Meridian detective Birta Fitch is on patrol. Since June, she has been a part of the Meridian Police Department's burglary detail. Every night, she and another detective patrol hotels, business parking lots, and residential neighborhoods, trying to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

Fitch says a number of the people being caught are from out of town, and they're involved in multiple burglaries. One specific arrest, she said, solved numerous crimes.

"By that one arrest, we were able to close 40 cases because he had done so many burglaries," Fitch said.

Matthews said she's glad the MPD is doing something, but it hasn't been that effective so far in her neighborhood. She says she needs something more.

"It kind of makes you fearful. You don't want to stereotype people, but with so much going on, it's like, you're always looking over shoulder," said Matthews.

And that's not something Matthews ever wanted to have to do in her new home.

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