A handful of incidents in the West Hattiesburg area have Hattiesburg police stepping up the patrols.
Over the past two weeks, multiple robberies, some known as a snatch-and-grabs or muggings have occurred in the Turtle Creek Mall and U.S. 98 Wal-Mart parking lots.
“In the past week where somebody has been approached, their purse snatched or their wallet taken, things like that in the form of an assault have occurred,” said Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler.
Those recent incidents include:
2-21-15- An auto burglary was reported at 1000 Turtle Creek Drive. No suspect information was given, and no arrests were made.
2-18-15- A robbery was reported at 1000 Turtle Creek Drive. Items taken during the robbery include; assorted amount of cash, drivers license, social security card, car keys, house keys, debit cards, check book, and a Micahel Kors purse. No arrests were made in the incident.
2-20-15- A robbery was reported at 1000 Turtle Creek Drive in reference to a strong armed robbery. The victim told authorities that a black male pushed her down and stole her purse. No arrests were made in the incident.
2-13-15- A robbery was reported at 6072 U.S. 98, at Wal-Mart, in reference to a strong armed robbery. The items that were taken include an iPhone 5c, a wallet with two debit cards, money, and a school identification card. No arrests were made in the incident.
“The big thing I want to make sure the public knows is know your surroundings, maybe change your direction, things like that, make yourself a hard target,” said Traxler.
West Hattiesburg is not the only place these incidents are occurring.
“We have had other incidents throughout the city, since January that have happened in other shopping areas so again, be mindful of that, you are going shopping, they know you have money things like that so just watch your surroundings, watch who's around you and report suspicious activity,” said Traxler.
According to Traxler, the department does not think the incidents are related, just that they happened in a similar area; however HPD is taking steps to beef up their patrols.
“We have several things that we have implemented, not just moving officers on patrol around, we have also implemented some undercover agents that are out here as well,” said Traxler.
Traxler added the department doesn't want to give out all of their secrets because the suspects will be looking for that.
If you have any information regarding any of these crimes, contact the Hattiesburg Police Department or Metro Crime Stoppers at 601-584-STOP.