Over 800 individuals were arrested for theft of property and criminal trespass in Ellis County during 2017, according to jail listings.

Of that number, more than 730 were jailed for theft.

Each local arrest helped propel Texas to No. 20 on the list of states with the most break-ins in the United States.

Annual data recently released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation reveals a few insights on residential burglaries in the nation. According to a new study by SafeHome.org, 1.4 million thefts cost victims $3.4 billion in 2017. Nearly 45 percent of burglaries happened in southern states, with Alabama and the Carolina’s dealing with the most break-ins at 630-664 break-ins per 100,000 people.

Texas, meanwhile, has a rate of 473 break-ins per 100,000 people, according to the study.

Petty crime like theft and criminal trespass is the stuff that Kyle Beller lives for — well, sort of. He really lives to prevent it in Waxahachie and Ellis County.

Beller has been the President of BAT Security in Waxahachie for 17 years, and he says he enjoys making people feel safer in their homes.

“I learned that I really enjoyed giving people a peace of mind,” Beller expressed. “I can lay my head down at night knowing I’ve done something good for the people around here.”

He remarked that it’s common to see more densely populated areas like Dallas or Fort Worth have higher crime rates. Comparatively, Beller stated that it generally makes Waxahachie safer than some of the other cities surrounding it.

“Typically, when you see large populations, you see higher crime,” Beller remarked. “We have small, petty crime. You leave your car door unlocked, someone’s going to reach in and grab some stuff out. You leave your garage door open, someone may go in and steal your lawnmower. If we have any crime, typically it’s not aggravated. It’s not person-to-person. It’s theft of property. It’s crimes of opportunity.”

Serving communities 60 miles outside of Waxahachie, Beller stated he's seen how dangerous some parts of Texas can be. He remarked that he was pleasantly surprised when he found out that Texas placed 20th for the most break-ins in the nation.

“Because of our population growth, breaking 20 is pretty good,” Beller mused. “I would have thought we would have been in the Top 10.”

For break-ins, Beller stated that having a home security system would be beneficial to some residents. If a suspect stole a package off of somebody’s front door or trespassed into their house, a security system could detect that and promptly notify local authorities.

“That’s where an alarm system works,” Beller stated. “Those type of crimes are the things that our systems attack and notify on.”

Beller said Bat Security’s safety options depends on the packages clients get. They can equip sensors to their clients’ windows and doors, attach motion and smoke detectors throughout the residence and can even include a camera on a resident’s doorbell.

But Beller said one of their signature features is the implementation of their SmartHome systems, which provides indoor and outdoor video surveillance of a home 24/7. Beller explained residents would be equipped with a free mobile application to arm and disarm their home, lock or unlock doors, watch live feeds and get live alerts for fires and burglaries.

Another element Beller noted that makes Waxahachie safer is law enforcement’s response to local emergencies. He pointed to a 2018 Security Sales & Integration report which averaged the response time among the 10 fastest U.S. cities at 9.08 minutes.

Beller stated that the Waxahachie Police Department’s response time is easily half of that.

“Their response times to alarms is impeccable,” he said. “That’s a good sign that law enforcement is working their rear-end off.”

Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby said alarm calls go straight to dispatch, and they send officers out to the scene. He remarked that’s one of the reasons why Waxahachie Police is so prompt to respond to break-ins.

“We try to get to locations as quickly as we can,” Goolsby expressed. “We have been seeing declining crime rates over the past few years.”

“It’s certainly something criminals pay attention to, how quickly we get to locations,” Goolsby mused. “Hopefully that makes them a little nervous and they decide not to commit the crime.”

To read the break-in report, go online at www.safehome.org.