We had two more cases in the Foothills Area Command this weekend reporting guns stolen from parked vehicles. As a community we have to get better at securing our firearms. One case from the weekend’s reported property crimes was reported from the 900-block of Nakomis NE and the other one on the 6000-block of Cortaderia NE. One vehicle was parked and left unlocked with the gun inside and the other case does not have definitive information on whether the vehicle was left unlocked or if the case was a forced entry leaving behind no signs of the entry. The guns that were stolen are now in the hands of people with no qualms about breaking into vehicles and there is the likelihood of those stolen weapons being used to commit violent crimes and harm our community even more. This current practice of leaving firearms for hours and in most cases, overnight, in parked vehicles is unsettling.
Safe Storage for Weapons: If you have firearms, teach the family about firearms safety, methods of safe storage and protecting weapons from burglary. Practice shooting so you are at the top of your game using your firearms. Thoroughly explain firearms safety and your family rules to the kids / grand-kids if you keep guns at home or in your vehicle.
Research the varieties of ways to secure firearms in vehicles if you feel must leave your firearm in a vehicle. There are several types on the market and they start out at price points as low as $30 and up to around $200. Leave the firearm safely secured at home if you are headed to an establishment that doesn’t permit firearms on the premises; checking ahead of time may help prevent you from feeling you have to stash the gun in the door side pocket or center console or under the seat. There are some cool advances in the home safes that store firearms, some with fingerprint-only access, some equipped with cameras inside the safes that record a photo of who is opening the safe, some that are top quality to prevent prying the door open, some that can be mounted in walls, floors, closets, etc. and increase the odds of being by-passed in the event of a residential burglary. I recommend keeping ammo stored safely away from the weapons. I also recommend checking into the safe’s threshold for being fireproof. I would suggest buying more ‘safe’ than you initially think you need: once your review your property and firearms collection, you will probably want more space for heirlooms, important documents and that property inventory of your valuables.
Property Crimes reported in the Foothills Area Command on Friday, 9/8; Saturday, 9/9 and Sunday, 9/10:
3 Armed Robberies/Commercial: 2900-block of Eubank Blvd NE, 10300-block of Menaul Blvd NE, 2900-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE.
11 Stolen Vehicles: 800-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE, 12500-block of Chico Rd NE, Two incidents at the same address on the 11100-block of Lomas Blvd NE, 1300-block of Eubank Blvd NE, 3100-block of Jane Pl NE, 2900-block of Chelwood Park Blvd, 900-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE, 1100-block of Pinnacle View Dr NE, 10400-block of Oso Grande Rd NE, 5800-block of Eubank Blvd NE.
1 Commercial Burglary: 1400-block of Eubank Blvd NE.
6 Residential Burglaries: 700-block of Stephen Moody SE, 800-block of Ram Trail SE, 12700-block of Singing Arrow SE, 800-block of Knox Ct NE, 4200-block of Spanish Bit NE, 11300-block of Woodmar Lane NE.
16 Auto Burglaries: 500-block of Eubank Blvd SE, 11200-block of Coconino Rd SE, 500-block of Western Skies SE, 12600-block of Chico Rd NE, 1500-block of Eubank Blvd NE, 11500-block of Baldwin Ave NE, 900-block of La Charles Dr NE, 900-block of Nakomis Dr NE, 12100-block of Morrow Ave NE, 4200-block of Tramway Blvd NE, 6000-block of Cortaderia St NE, 12000-block of Vienna Dr NE, 5700-block of Elderberry Court NE, 12500-block of Royal Crest Court NE, two vehicles at the same address on the 6400-block of St. Anne’s NE.
Entries: Unlocked vehicles, smash & grabs (breaking windows to access items inside vehicle), damaging door locks.
Items left inside unattended vehicles that were stolen: Luggage, a cell phone and other items not detailed. Military ID. Vehicle registration, insurance documents. Vehicle registration and insurance documents and $2.00 in spare change. Purse, wallet, IDs, cell phone. Smith & Wesson 9 MM gun and various tools. Walter 9 MM gun. Social Security card, birth certificate, other personal items, a back pack.
A few tips: If you run down this list of items left in parked cars (most parked outside secured garages overnight in driveways or at the curb) you can see what attracts the criminal element to your vehicle. “Documents are just pieces of paper and replaceable” is something I hear at many of the community meetings I attend to teach crime prevention. Yes, they are, but documents are also used to commit further crimes like identity theft, fraud, forgery and knowing your home address to case the home for a residential burglary. I also get asked a lot about leaving vehicle registrations and insurance cards inside the vehicle – why not keep them in your wallet with your driver’s license if you are the sole driver of the vehicle? You have to have those documents when operating the vehicle, but they don’t have to be in the vehicle when it’s parked. I keep mine in a plastic envelope that can slip into my pocket and carry that with me. You can always hide these documents in the vehicle and if pulled over by law enforcement tell the officer where you have them stowed and wait for the officer’s instructions about retrieving them. Even if you stow the purse or wallet in a center console, glove box, under the seat or in the trunk you will be taking a chance of these items being stolen if an auto burglar has a sense that the risk of being caught is lower than the potential for extra time and risk of being seen/discovered searching the vehicle, but this is better than leaving a purse or wallet or back pack in the usual spots or in plain sight. Why not pare down what you are driving around with and edit down those items to the essentials you need for your errand at hand? Your goal is to leave nothing visible and to remove anything of value.
I hope these tips will help you be safer and to start you on the path to building new habits and discarding the old ones that no longer work regarding protecting your property.
Have a great week ahead and be safe!
Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS, NCPS – APD, Foothills Area Command