Trending Tuesday: I want to update readers on a trend over the weekend — 100% of our reported residential burglaries in the Foothills Area Command involved entries to the dwelling via open garage doors. As the weather gets warmer and those yard clean up projects begin or cleaning the garage or working on cars inside the garage, it will be important to keep those garage doors closed. If you change your mind set just a bit to start thinking of the garage door as the biggest door to your home it will be easier to remember to keep this door closed. You wouldn’t leave your front door open all day or for hours at time, so thinking of the garage as a very large front door will help you be more aware of this access point to your home.
Items stolen over the weekend from garages included food from a freezer, tools, and golf clubs. Luckily no one was hurt by unexpectedly encountering a criminal in the garage committing a burglary. I have seen police reports where vehicles, purses, keys, tools, gun safes, art, collectibles, etc. have been reported stolen from garages. Criminals have also entered homes via open garage doors and then proceeded into the home, in some instances while the residents were inside the home. Most were intent on stealing keys and purses left on counters or in laundry rooms that adjoin the garage. If you are a frequent reader, you know I call this ‘snowball’ crime: one small action like leaving the garage door open leads to an auto theft, a residential burglary, ID theft if banking or personal information is stolen along with purses and wallets and we have an avalanche of crime that started with a little seemingly insignificant snowball.
If you have a side door to the garage you might want to consider installing a heavy gauge steel security door with a deadbolt. These types of doors allow you to see out, have ventilation, but are hinged to prevent being kicked in and have deadbolts. People on the outside of these security doors can’t see inside, but the home owner can see out. If doggie doors lead to the garage, consider closing that access point and letting the dog in and out as needed. Criminals often send a child through a doggie door to open up the door for them and some adults are thin enough to wriggle through these often overlooked access points. I also recommend checking the trim along the top of the garage door and replace it if there are gaps. Criminals can ‘fish’ by wiggling a wire or straightened out metal clothes hanger through the gaps at the top of the garage door to ‘hook’ your red emergency cord handle inside the garage to yank it to open the garage door. You can also secure your garage door by bolting it shut if you go on vacation. There are numerous other ways to secure garages and I welcome readers to send them in to this web site via the community conversation platform to share with each other.
Foothills Community Policing Council meeting last night: Thank you for inviting me and Officer Rael to speak to your group. I hope you all learned at least one new thing about crime prevention, Neighborhood Watches, the Crime Free Multi-Housing program and that you know McGruff is alive and well! It was great to see familiar faces and meet new people at the CPC meeting last night.
Our substation at 12800 Lomas Blvd NE has more of the free “No Solicitors” signs and the “Slow Down Albuquerque” signs and metal stands — come on by Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. if you want more signs. If you need a quantity of crime prevention printed material, that can be printed off the City of Albuquerque web site at www.cabq.gov in the Police section under Crime Prevention or you can contact me or Steve Sink at 244-6644 to request a batch of print material for your neighborhood. As I noted, welcome packets with crime prevention materials are a nice way to welcome new residents to your block. Our substation is also a safe disposal site for unused prescription drugs and an Internet Safe Exchange Zone with surveillance over two dedicated parking spaces for citizens to make safer exchanges for purchases made online at sites like Craig’s List, etc.
Property Crimes reported in the Foothills Area Command on Monday, March 13th:
2 Stolen Vehicles: 12800-block of Central NE, 13500-block of McCall NE.
2 Commercial Burglaries: 13100-block of Central NE. 100-block of Hotel Circle NE.
2 Residential Burglaries: 11100-block of Gibson SE, 1000-block of Warm Sands SE. No method of entry noted at time of research for either incident; several firearms reported stolen from one home, but no exact count at time of research.
Here we go again with the firearms being left unsecured and accessible and then being stolen during burglaries. Please secure firearms when you leave the house. If you drive in our community with firearms in your vehicle, stop and lock up the firearms in an auto safe or before you leave the house and then proceed to your destination or keep the weapon with you and not in an unattended vehicle.
4 Auto Burglaries: 13100-block of Wenonah SE, 3300-block of Juan Tabo Blvd NE, 1100-block of Chelwood Park Blvd NE, 11900-block of St. Mary’s Drive NEl Entries via unlocked vehicles for 2 of the 4 noted, other 2 cases did not have entry method listed at time of my research. Potentially, at least 50% of the auto burglaries were preventable yesterday by just removing articles and locking up before walking away from the vehicle. Items stolen: one attempted auto theft, a purse, IDs, tools, phone charger, cords and a laser tape measure.
Stay safe and have a great day –
Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS, NCPS – APD Foothills Area Command