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Thefts, burglaries have spiked in Fayette County

Thefts from automobiles in Fayette County have increased 14.9 percent over last year through October and burglaries have spiked 9.1 percent, with much of the increase occurring in the last three months, according to crime statistics released Tuesday by Lexington police.

The stats were released Tuesday by a local law enforcement task force that's cracking down on property crimes and hoping to prevent those numbers from rising even further.

Officials from the Lexington Divison of Police, Fayette County sheriff's office and Fayette County commonwealth's attorney's office make up the 12-member task force.

The task force was formed earlier this fall after police noticed that property crime rates were beginning to rise. Earlier in the year it looked as though Lexington's crime rates might remain at the 34-year low set in 2007, Lexington police Commander Robert Stack said in a statement.

"Rather than sit back and watch and react, we decided we ought to be a little more proactive," Commonwealth's Attorney Ray Larson said.

The first phase of the crackdown focused on repeat offenders, individuals with prior felony and misdemeanor records, who are back in the community, Larson said.

Since the first phase began Oct. 6, Lexington police and sheriff's deputies have arrested 127 people and recovered $56,500 in stolen property.

The task force is about to begin a second phase, but Larson declined to reveal what it is.

From 1996 to 2007, Larson's office prosecuted 3,212 repeat offenders. They had 45,202 prior convictions between them.

"We know two things about these kind of people," Larson said. "When they're on the street, they commit crime after crime. When they're incarcerated they don't."

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