Looting already starts as Florence arrives

Looting an unfortunate problem each time hurricanes hit

By Keith Dunlap - Graham Media Group
Getty Images

A sign warns looters in front of a home near the Barker Reservoir August 31, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

With Hurricane Florence hitting land in North Carolina on Friday, it didn’t take long for one problem always associated with hurricanes to start: looting.

In North Carolina, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office announced on its Facebook page that people were arrested late Thursday night and early Friday morning for breaking and entering.

WWAY-TV reports four people were taken into custody in attempted thefts at abandoned buildings and in vehicles.

Sadly, while down on the list of problems that come with hurricanes, looting is as common when hurricanes strike as high winds and flooding.

When government officials do their due diligence and tell people to evacuate the area when a hurricane arrives, an unfortunate side effect is that it also sends a message to thieves that empty homes and businesses are an easy target.

Last year as Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, a Texas man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for looting a Walmart.

While Hurricane Irma fell last year in Florida, two teens were arrested and pleaded guilty to forced entry and grand theft after breaking into a million-dollar home and stealing an assortment of electronics. 

Looters were also caught on camera by Ft. Lauderdale Police during Hurricane Irma. 

Looting is also common when people leave damaged items outside of homes to dry or so they can be on display for insurance claims.

During Hurricane Irma, authorities said more than 50 people were arrested for looting in Miami, while 20 people were accused of looting in the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey, KPRC-TV reported. 

There are some who feel stealing items from a grocery store shouldn’t be considered looting since it was a matter of basic survival if people are trying to take water or other food items. 

But regardless, having to crack down on looters is an additional burden for law enforcement officials whose primary concern is the safety of their residents as hurricanes wreak havoc on communities.

Graham Media Group 2018