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Residential burglaries, vehicle thefts increase
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Issue 42, Volume 17.
"In the month of September, we had eight residential burglaries; in early October we have had three more," said Lt. Todd Richardson, commander of the Fallbrook Sheriff’s substation. "Normally we would see two or three a month."
The frustrating part for law enforcement is that easy access was provided for the majority of the burglaries.
"Between 60 and 70 percent of the homes broken into were unsecured, doors and/or windows were left unlocked," explained Richardson. "That’s the biggest problem."
Richardson said the same scenario is seen in theft of items from vehicles.
"If people don’t want to become a victim, and want to make an impact on reducing crime, they simply need to secure their property – lock their homes and vehicles," he said.
In two of the home burglaries recently, vehicles were also stolen.
"It’s more common that the person breaking into the house is looking for specific items like jewelry, guns, and electronics that they can turn into cash very quickly for their drug habit," said Richardson. "However, in 10 to 15 percent of burglaries, a thief will break in, find vehicle keys, and take a car from the garage as a getaway vehicle that they can load up with other stolen goods from the house."
Richardson said in many homes, keys to vehicles are in very visible locations.
"People commonly put their keys on a table right inside a door or on a pegboard," he noted. "Prevention can be a very simple thing. They need to put keys somewhere less visible."
Vehicle thefts increased by about 50 percent in September, compared to the previous four months.
"We haven’t really been able to connect these thefts very much; they have been happening throughout the community, in various locations," said Richardson, adding that the only similarity is in the models of cars being stolen.
"As usual, it is the older model Hondas and Toyotas that are very popular to steal; of the seven or eight vehicle thefts in Fallbrook last month, four of those were older Honda Civics," he explained.
Whenit comes to property being stolen out of vehicles, Richardson said the majority of vehicles targeted have been left unlocked with enticing items visible inside the car.
"When someone is walking by and they see a purse, pack of CDs, or other valuable items, the car is more likely to be broken into," said Richardson. "We remind people to not leave anything in plain sight inside their vehicle, to roll up the windows and lock it."
According to Detective Dan Laibach, there were several reported vehicle burglaries involving window smashes at the parking area located at the Monserate Mountain Preserve hiking trailhead at Pankey Rd. and Stewart Canyon in Fallbrook between Sept. 19 and Oct. 4.
The suspects then drove to several supermarkets and department stores in Escondido, purchasing various items using the victims’ checks and credit cards. After obtaining surveillance video of the suspects from those stores, Laibach was able to able to send information on the suspects to other local law enforcement agencies which led to the arrest of three suspects, all from Escondido.
In Fallbrook, Sheriff’s crime prevention specialist John McLelland has sent reminders to Neighborhood Watch groups and makes a practice of reiterating the best defense possible against home burglaries.
"Please remember to lock your doors and windows any time you are away," said McLelland. "It is also recommended to photograph all jewelry and engrave other valuable items with your driver’s license number."
McLelland said local residents can log on to www.crimemapping.com, type in their address, and view crimes that have taken place over the past 90 days in their neighborhood.
By contacting McLelland, residents can also arrange for a free security assessment of their home by the Sheriff’s Dept.
"We can provide recommendations to deter break-ins," he said.
For more information, or to set an appointment for a security assessment, call John McLelland at (760) 451-3124.
Although the number of burglary and theft crimes have increased recently, the Sheriff’s Dept. reports that across the 15 different crime categories tracked, the number of criminal offenses overall is distinctly down.
"In seven or eight of the categories, we are definitely trending below normal," said Richardson. "We’re still down over last year’s crime numbers."
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