HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Armed robberies in the Hub City are one thing that Hattiesburg police are asking for the public's help in solving, as well as being vigilant.
In 2017, as of June 15th, the city of Hattiesburg has recorded 20 armed robberies throughout the Hub City.
"That is a significant number," said Hattiesburg Police Lt. PIO, LaTosha Myers-Mitchell. "Robbery is a crime that some criminals feel is a quick way to get money, and when they add a weapon to it, that just ups the annite, it makes that crime become a little bit more than just getting money, its violence with it."
HPD has worked two armed robberies in the past week, one at 1801 Hardy Street, Minit Mart, and 6508 U.S. 49, at Motel 6.
In 2016, the Hub City recorded 49 total armed robberies for the year.
"The public should be very on guard at all times, be aware of their surroundings, be vigilant, when they get out of their vehicles, walking into businesses, be on guard," said Myers-Mitchell.
Myers-Mitchell said business owners should have a plan that they go over with their staff in the event of a robbery.
For anyone that does find themselves a victim of an armed robbery:
"First, make a mental note of that person, be a great witness, from head to toe get a physical description, look at anything that maybe you can give to the officers at a later date that can help them identify that person," said Myers-Mitchell. "Don't be argumentative, be compliant with the suspect, because if they armed then they are intending or possibly could do violence, so remain calm and compliant with the robber."
Some of those other aspects that can be helpful details to authorities can include:
- hair color
- eye color
- detailed clothing description
- car description/ tag numbers or letters
"If they are leaving on foot, see which direction that they are going in, if they leave in a vehicle, get a great description of the vehicle and also possibly a license plate," she said. "People may feel like they need to up their annite, and present a weapon…not all weapons are used in the commission of a crime, but the fact that they have it, is just something that the public needs to be aware of, and be extra cautious."
Business owners can also have up-to-date security systems along with quality and working surveillance systems.
"Security cameras that are visible to the public, that are operable, that has up to date systems that we can actually get still shots from, or possibly great video that's not grainy, that's something that we can give to the community that can identify these suspects," said Myers-Mitchell.
Other tips for businesses:
- Try to have at least two employees to open/close the business.
- Try to use the most visible entrance to the business.
- Keep the business well lit, especially the entrances and exits.
- Mark the edge of the doorway with measuring tape, this will help in obtaining a more accurate height of the suspect.
"Of course, call 911 immediately and notify police, and again, give as much information as possible," said Myers-Mitchell.
If you have any information regarding any of the armed robberies in the Hub City, contact Hattiesburg Police or Metro Crime Stoppers at 601-582-STOP.