One of our Foothills detectives had a significant arrest of one of a pair of auto burglars targeting a gated community. Here is what the detective was told by the offender — this information can help you be safer.
- Lock up! The offender told our detective that she and her partner burglarized vehicles that were left parked outside, overnight, unlocked. If they encountered a locked vehicle, they moved on to the next unlocked vehicle. Protect your property and your neighborhood by removing items of value and locking up when you park.
- Use your garage for parking your vehicle if at all possible. Why leave property worth thousands of dollars sitting outside unlocked all night when you have a secure garage? Word gets out among the criminal community about areas to target — don’t let that be your block!
- Check your ‘stuff’: The offender was focused on stealing personal papers (insurance, registration, mail, etc) left inside vehicles in the center consoles and glove boxes. Why? These pieces of information can be used or sold to put together profiles on victims in order to commit fraud or identity theft. It’s tax return time — I saw a report a few weeks ago where a W2 was stolen from a vehicle. Fraudulent tax returns can be filed by criminals who have your personal information. Sadly, there are victims of this offender out there who don’t even realize they were burglarized — why? We normally don’t check for our vehicle registations and insurance papers, receipts, garage door openers, etc every time we are in the vehicle.
- Trim overgrown shrubs, low-hanging tree branches, check outdoor lighting: The offender admitted to hiding and taking cover in yards when it was apparent courtesy patrols were approaching. General rule of thumb is: Shrubs should be about 3 feet high at the tallest, tree canopies should start at 6 feet high or more. Lighting should be bright enough to read a newspaper headline, low enough to not cause glare. Eliminate potential hiding spots on your property.
- Go outside at night and look at your home from across the street — what does an offender see? Have you raised the level of discomfort for a potential offender? Could a neighbor see and call 911 if someone were trying to break into your home or your vehicle parked outside?
Be safe, have a good weekend and ‘harden those targets’ by locking up and removing items of value and checking on the visual message your home and vehicle portray.
Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist, APD/Foothills Area Command