Despite decreases in the past, Lafayette burglaries increased by 9 percent this year, so Lafayette Police Department spokesperson Cpl. Paul Mouton spoke with KPEL to discuss those crimes and how citizens can help tackle the problem.

Mouton said burglaries can include anything from shoplifting to automobile theft, but when those numbers increase, it affects the overall crime rate. That rate can affect the economy, he added, as potential investors consider that number before establishing businesses in Lafayette.

"That's the last thing we want to do is discourage people from coming here," Mouton said, "so one of the main things we're trying to is make sure that people lock their doors, don't leave out valuables — a little bit of crime prevention on the citizens' part in order to curb that number."

Mouton recalled one particular weekend when 42 vehicles were burglarized, and 41 of those vehicles were left unlocked. This opportunity is available to thieves even in parking lots, where individuals may not take a second look at someone entering a vehicle.

"Crime is about opportunity," Mouton said. "It's just like looking for a sale in a store. If these individuals are out there and they're finding vehicles unlocked and the prize is good inside these vehicles, they're gonna continue to shop in those particular stores."

Meanwhile, the Lafayette Police Department is looking for certified officers to fill 17 vacancies on the force, along with resource officers who provide support to Lafayette's four precincts.

"The more officers that we have on the road, the better it is for the chief and his staff, in order to manipulate where they can put officers at," Mouton explained. "It gives us more resources at hand to attack some of the quality of life issues we have here in Lafayette."

He also urged Lafayette residents to become involved in one of more than 30 neighborhood watch programs that exist throughout the parish.

"And that's what community involvement is," Mouton said. "Being aware of what's going on in your neighborhood, staying on top of it, and sharing that information with everyone that lives around you."

To listen to Cpl. Paul Mouton's interview on “Your Afternoon Drive Home,” CLICK BELOW: