L’OBSERVATUER: Many car burglaries are preventable

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre relayed a fairly mind-boggling statistic to L’Observateur when he was interviewed June 30.

At that point, a full six months into 2014, he said the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office had investigated more than 100 car burglaries in the parish, with over half the victimized vehicles targeted, we would assume, because they were unlocked.

Things haven’t changed 16 days later, and now deputies reporting to a street after a call for a home or car burglary place door hangers in the neighborhood with safety reminders and police contact numbers.

“Most vehicle burglaries in St. John Parish are self-service,” the hanger states. “Leave valuables in an unlocked vehicle and criminals will help themselves.”

It seems like common sense, but too many of us in St. John Parish are not getting the memo.

If we could eliminate even half of these seemingly preventable crimes, think about how much time that would free up for local law enforcement to concentrate on other crimes, not to mention all the local residents who wouldn’t have to deal with the fallout aggravation of stolen items.

The points authorities wish to share with the community aren’t complicated but are worth repeating.

• Most thefts occur when valuables are left unattended and unlocked. The thief normally seeks privacy to commit his or her act. Virtually any article left in plain view is apt to be stolen. Most property that is stolen is left unattended or unlocked.

• A thief’s favorite targets include anything of value. The property most preferred is cash or loose change left in the console or ashtray. They also like CDs, wallets, purses, phones, radar detectors, radios, speakers and anything handy to grab.

The burglary-prevention tips provided by police are easy to understand, take less than 30 seconds to accomplish and could save everyone a world of aggravation if executed daily by residents.

• Remove visible items from your vehicle. Be aware that someone may be watching as you put a wallet, purse or cell phone under your seat, especially at a gym. Take these with you or secure them in your trunk.

• Lock your vehicle and take your keys, even for quick errands; also lock the trunk, hatchback or tailgate. Close all windows, including vent or wing windows and sunroofs.

• Buy an alarm and use it. Many people believe alarms no longer make a difference, however, they do remain an effective deterrent to a burglar. Remember criminals are looking for the easy target and don’t want to deal with a blaring alarm as they are trying not to draw attention to themselves.

This type of crime is more popular in the summer, authorities said, so if you want to avoid being the latest victim, take a second to secure your valuables.

You’ll be saving law enforcement and yourself a whole lot of aggravation.