Increase in vehicle burglaries prompts S.P. Police warning

July 10, 2015
Santa Paula News

An increase in vehicle burglaries has prompted a warning from Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean for citizens to be aware that they could be next.

With an increase of smash and grab vehicle break-ins McLean said, “I want to remind the community to make sure you don’t leave your personal property in your vehicles,” as there has been “an increase in vehicle burglaries where the suspect smashed the window and then stole personal property from the vehicle.”

McLean said residents should “Please make sure your car is locked and parked in your driveway with the alarm on,” and, “If you can park your car in the garage even better. 

“If you do park your vehicle in the driveway park it as close as you can to the house,” and ideally, “get a car alarm…we had someone just lose an iPhone to a thief, they left it plugged in to charge and someone came by and did a window smash,” a double loss as the window must also be replaced.

But, he added, it doesn’t have to be expensive items that could be the focus of theft: “These thieves are so pathetic that they will break into your car to steal the change from your ashtray. The same  thing goes for your home.”

McLean cautioned residents not to leave “windows open or doors ajar,” which is common in hot weather. 

“There are a lot of older homes in Santa Paula and during the summer, instead of turning on the AC they keep doors and windows open while they are away.”

McLean said residents should not only make sure doors and windows are locked, but also to explore purchasing, “A good alarm system, and that includes a good, working surveillance system.”

“In fact,” he noted, “you can get a good working surveillance system with 10 cameras for about $800.”

But it’s also a great idea to get a dog: “It is a fact that having a dog can reduce the chances of being a victim of a burglary.”

Not all that steal set out to be burglars: “It’s a crime of opportunity, you give them the opportunity to commit a crime,” by having something that is easy to steal.

And with the summer months, “crime tends to go up, kids are out of school,” and so-called petty thefts become more common.

Businesses are also prone to crime and McLean believes “every business on Main Street, every business, should have a surveillance system,” or upgrade what they have.

“A lot of businesses have systems that don’t work or there’s poor video quality or they even have people working that don’t know how to operate them. We’ve had crimes,” where the surveillance system was worthless because, said McLean, “The person on duty didn’t know how to use it…”

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