Thieves are having an easy time in 7th district

Thefts from autos are at a near-re­cord pace in the 7th Po­lice Dis­trict, so the com­mand­ing of­ficer of the dis­trict has urged vehicle own­ers to be more pro­tect­ive of their per­son­al be­long­ings.

From May 9 through 30, there were 47 thefts from autos re­por­ted in the 7th dis­trict, leav­ing the dis­trict on pace to match or break the re­cent high of 67 thefts for a single 28-day track­ing peri­od, ac­cord­ing to Capt. Joseph Zaffino.

By the time the track­ing peri­od ended on June 5, 62 thefts from autos had been re­por­ted. A new track­ing peri­od began on June 6. Ana­lys­is of the avail­able data re­veals that many of the thefts likely could’ve been pre­ven­ted by the vic­tims, Zaffino said.

In 20 of the 47 cases through May 30, crooks gained entry in­to tar­geted cars by “un­known” means. That is, there was no evid­ence of a lock be­ing broken or a win­dow smashed. So, those cars most likely were left un­locked by their own­ers, al­low­ing crooks easy ac­cess, Zaffino said.

Among the oth­er 27 tar­geted cars, 21 had broken win­dows, which is an ab­nor­mally high per­cent­age com­pared to pri­or track­ing peri­ods, ac­cord­ing to the cap­tain. In six cases, the thief broke a lock to enter the car.

Per­haps more telling than the rate of un­locked vehicles is the break­down of items taken in the thefts, Zaffino said.

In 18 of the 47 cases, vic­tims re­por­ted that their GPS units were stolen. Oth­er vic­tims re­por­ted stolen wal­lets, purses, loose change, laptop com­puters, sunglasses, tools and EZ Pass trans­mit­ters. Mean­while, would-be thieves made off empty handed in only four cases, which means that crooks aren’t work­ing at ran­dom.

No valu­ables should be left in an un­at­ten­ded car, let alone in plain view of pass­ers-by, ac­cord­ing to the cap­tain. All valu­ables should be re­moved from the car be­fore leav­ing it un­at­ten­ded. And if that’s not pos­sible, items should be locked in the trunk or glove box and out of plain view.

Des­pite the re­cent up­surge in thefts from autos, all news isn’t bad, however. As of May 30, the 7th dis­trict had 240 cases year-to-date, for a 6 per­cent de­cline from the 2010 rate, Zaffino said.

Mean­while, burg­lar­ies — that is, break-ins in­volving res­id­ences, busi­nesses and oth­er prop­er­ties — were down by 2 per­cent. But in re­cent weeks, folks seem to have for­got­ten to take ba­sic steps to se­cure their auto­mo­biles and the prop­erty that they carry with­in them. ••

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