Neighborhood residents should feel good knowing Detective Gary Cox is a member of the police force.

As senior detective with the Northeast Operations Division, Cox has more than 13 years’ experience solving burglaries and thefts.

His team of 15 detectives work between 80 and 110 cases a month, or about 20 a week. They solve about 25 percent of those cases, Cox says.

“The less cases there are, the easier it would be to have a higher clearance rate,” he says.

Cox says he enjoys working as a detective because of the thrill of developing leads, tracking down suspects, making arrests and recovering stolen property.

“I just do my job and keep on plugging,” Cox says.

“I enjoy helping people who have been victimized by comforting them and seeing that justice is done.”

Cox says he has noticed that most of the thefts he investigates are committed by repeat offenders. He has also seen a rise in the number of juvenile offenders, something he blames on deteriorating family values and drug abuse.

“More and more kids are getting mixed up in drugs, which have been romanticized in movies and TV shows,” he says.

After many years investigating crimes, Cox says he has a few tips to help neighborhood residents avoid becoming victims.

Make friends with your neighbors, Cox says, and have them keep an eye on your home when you’re away. Keep curtains drawn so thieves can’t see your valuables. Don’t build a stockade-type fence, because it will shield burglars from being noticed by neighbors. Adopt a watchdog that barks at strangers. And install an alarm that functions properly.