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Insight from WFPD: Recent motor vehicles thefts serve as reminders

The Police Department has responded to an increased number of reported thefts recently. Most of the thefts involve items being stolen from unlocked motor vehicles. Some thefts involved items taken from garages where the overhead door had been left open. The items stolen included electronics, currency, billfolds or purses and a variety of items that could easily be sold. Each theft could be considered a crime of opportunity.

An item of value left unsecured in a location where the criminal has access is likely to result in a crime of opportunity. The criminal can easily steal the item with a minimal amount of effort and suffers little risk of being detected. The criminal may commit the theft for the purpose of possessing the item stolen; converting the item for something else of value; or gaining the adrenalin rush of committing the crime. The criminal seeking the adrenalin rush may even dispose of the item shortly after the theft as the item has no true value to them. A crime of opportunity is one of the easiest to deter. A few simple precautions can prevent you from being the victim of a theft.

The first precaution is to remove valuables from areas where criminals may be able to see them. Items left in plain view of people passing by your home or vehicle may stir the interest of a potential thief. Move the items to a secure storage area or other location out of the view of the public. Purses, wallets or expensive electronics should never be left unattended in a motor vehicle.

A second precaution is the simple act of closing and locking doors. A locked door is frequently enough to deter most criminals. The additional effort required by the criminal and noise created when a door is forced open or glass is broken carries the potential of the crime being immediately discovered. The criminal typically desires to proceed undetected and not be confronted by an owner or law enforcement. Learn to close and lock doors even when you are home. It only takes a moment for a criminal to grab your property. Do a final check at the end of the day to ensure all doors are closed and locked and your property is secured.

Properly maintaining your exterior lighting and the use of motion detection style lighting can deter potential criminals from accessing your property. Exterior lighting should be located near entry points and at a height or of a design to prevent tampering. Motion Detection style lighting installed in areas likely to be used by someone approaching your home can further deter criminals.

Increasing visibility around your home and driveway is also important. Shrubbery around your home should be trimmed to a height no greater than eighteen inches. Trees should have lower branches trimmed back to a minimum height of four feet. Remove items stored around the exterior of your home to prevent a criminal using them as a place of concealment. Take time to look around to identify potential problem areas.

Don't be the easy victim. Learn to protect your property and protect yourself.