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      Police Street Sign Warns of Burglaries

      Police said too many students are leaving doors and windows unlocked.

      Columbia police officers explained why they put an electronic sign at the corner of Grindstone Parkway and Bearfield Road this weekend.

      They did it to warn people about a higher number of burglaries in the area.

      Officers said their electronic warning sign was mainly for college students living on the south side of town. Police said too many students are leaving doors and windows unlocked. It??s gone now, but this past weekend Columbia police borrowed a public works message sign to warn everyone of a high burglary area along Grindstone Parkway. Joshua Payne likes the idea of the sign because he??s seen more crime.

      Payne said, ??My friend has been broke into, one through the front window. Her shed was opened last night. Somebody messed with the back window a couple of nights ago. A license plate has been stolen off my car. It??s pretty bad.??

      Columbia police said the sign was just one way to help prevent burglaries. They are also using Facebook and Twitter and working on distributing flyers to students. Between July 16 and September 9 burglaries were down by 7 in Columbia overall, but up by 9 in the south side of town as compared to last year. That means 32 of the 55 burglaries happened near Grindstone Parkway. Police said the street warning was necessary for some students.

      Columbia police officer Latisha Stroer said, ??It reached out to a lot of people who live in that neighborhood if they don??t watch the news, read a newspaper or visit our website.??

      Police aren??t sure if they will put the sign up again. They are certain more students need to keep things locked since more burglaries are a sign of the times.

      Most of the neighborhoods along Columbia??s Grindstone Parkway are filled with student housing.