BUTTE — Many residents in Butte are getting tired of what they claim is an increase in petty crimes in their neighborhoods and they’re starting to organize to help sweep the crime off their streets.
“After three nights of having to call in the PD in a row, and our neighbors having their house broken into and attempted break-in at a truck, I kind of was just like, alright, we’ve got to do something because this is out of control,” said Texas Avenue resident Ashlee Mussard.
Mussard started the Butte MT Civic Center Area Community Group to unite neighbors against a rash of thefts from vehicles, garages, and storage sheds. She personally experienced how neighbors can look out for each other.
“My neighbors messaged me the other night and said, ‘hey, there’s two guys looking in your vehicle,’ and this was about midnight and I sent my dog in the yard to bark at them and they ran off,” said Mussard.
Butte police encourage people to always call 911 when they see anything suspicious in their neighborhood.
“If you think there’s something that appears out of place, there’s someone in your neighborhood that don’t belong there, something that doesn’t look right, just call us and we'll come take a look at it,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.
These types of crimes increase during the summer months because there are more kids out late at night. Also, police say there are more drug addicts out stealing items to pawn to feed their addictions.
“Butte used to be a place where you could leave your doors unlocked and your windows open, and I don’t know of any place in the world that’s like that now,” said Lester.
One reason these crimes are so hard for police to solve is they happen so quickly. A guy walks by, checks a door—it’s locked, check the next one, it’s open, quickly grab a package, and they’re out.
“We’ve kind of lost our moral compass. Rather than working for a living and working to get something, just steal. It’s really disappointing to see theft increasing when everybody can get a job and there’s jobs posted everywhere. It’s just backwards and it’s something that’s concerning to me and should be to everybody,” Sheriff Lester said.
The neighborhood watch group is concerned and will host a meeting next month to organize a plan.