By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Car break-ins plague area
Placeholder Image
Auto burglaries continue to plague this area. Business parking lots, neighborhoods and industrial areas all seem to be affected by a significant number of auto burglaries. During the first six months of 2008, thefts were up by 2.6 percent as compared to the same period in 2007. This is a relatively small increase, but it is a clear signal of an upcoming, upward trend in future months. Now is the time to deal with the problem before it becomes unmanageable.

First, it is important to clarify the term "auto burglary." It means the theft of property from a locked vehicle, constituting a felony crime. An unlocked vehicle, from a legal perspective, cannot be burglarized. So, if a person leaves a wallet in an unlocked vehicle, and the wallet gets stolen, the crime is a misdemeanor unless the value of it ($400 or more) is high enough to make it a felony grand theft case.

Property crime is generally a problem throughout this state, owing to such things as early prisoner releases, insufficient number of parole agents to supervise the many parolees circulating throughout our communities, the depressed economy plays a role, unemployment contributes and the drug situation plays no small part in this situation. What this means for the average citizen is that you have to be cautious; more so than in the past. You have to assume that valuables left in you car are like a thief magnet. Therefore, the most simple and effective step to take for auto burglary prevention is to remove valuables from your vehicle anytime it is unoccupied. Purses, especially, are an obvious target for thieves.

People unwittingly leave purses in unattended cars thinking that they are safe there. To make matters worse, the purses are left in plain sight. A thief needs only a few seconds to break a window to gain entry and steal the purse and any other items of value. Music CDs, jewelry, cell phones, valuable sound systems, coins, currency, sunglasses and most anything else of value are subject to an auto thief's attention. The best advice I can offer is for everyone to assume that, if valuables are left in an unattended car, they will be stolen. And it is not just the loss of the valuables contained within the vehicle -- the damage done to windows and surrounding window and door structure often cost more to repair than the value of the stolen property.

Many retail locations now employ security personnel to assist with parking lot safety and crime prevention. They seem to help in great measure. Regardless of a security presence or not, motorists should assume that, when they park their cars, someone is watching and waiting to break into their cars. Thieves watch as you place valuables the trunk, or when you attempt to cover items with a coat to keep them out of sight. This is why it is best keep your valuables with you and not take a chance with fate. Try to find safe, well-lit areas to park your cars. As neighbors, help out by keeping an eye on each others' cars and homes, being sure to report suspicious people and vehicles without delay.

It is true that the situation we are now in is shameful, intolerable and a very bad reflection on the condition of our society. Prevention is an immediate step we can take to impact the problem of thievery in our communities, but the real solution lies with reversing the trends of a deteriorating society.