There have been several auto & residential burglaries lately, in Aptos. We advise everyone to not leave anything valuable in their cars; anything that can be seen from the outside of your car. Examples include GPS systems, cell phone chargers, cell phones, laptops, wallets, anything that may entice burglars to break into your car.
Make sure to report any thefts or suspicious activity/people around your neighborhood to the non-emergency number 471-1124.
From our Sheriff Wowak and his staff, here are some great tips for all residents and vacationers:
Holiday Safety Tips
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office has seen a spike in theft related crimes in recent weeks both from homes and vehicles. This rise in theft related crime has been taxing on our staff and equally as frustrating for crime victims. A common theme in these cases has been hard to identify but basic prevention techniques to thwart these crimes remains consistent. Our deputies are very diligent in their patrols and any increase in thefts, especially those that are preventable, warrant extra enforcement efforts wherever possible. Our patrol staff has encouraged me to write this article to help educate the community in crime prevention techniques.
Over the last 24 months, Santa Cruz County has seen nearly a 20% rise in Property Crimes (thefts, vandalism and burglary). One common factor in thefts from unattended vehicles is that citizens often leave valuables visible to passersby. Also, many victims fail to lock their cars. A vast majority of recent thefts may have been prevented by doing the obvious, securing belongings and locking your vehicle EVERY time you leave it unattended. A majority of thefts like these are designated as crimes of opportunity. Crimes of opportunity are those which occur because the suspect(s) are given an enticing target coupled with an ability to complete a crime undeterred.
Taking action that can prevent a crime is more important than the apprehension of a suspect in a completed criminal act. In response to the recent increase of thefts and the annual crime statistics, the Sheriff’s Office would like to suggest some basic techniques that can help you have a safe and crime-free holiday season. Below are a few helpful tips to reduce your risk of becoming a victim not only during the holidays but every day of the year.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even if just for a few minutes.
- Don’t put large displays of gifts in view of your windows or doors.
- When going on trips or out for the evenings, use automatic timers to turn on indoor lights to make it appear you are home.
- After the holidays, mark your new gifts with your California Drivers License or ID Number.
- Don’t leave spare house keys under mats, rocks, planters, or other obvious places.
- Be aware of suspicious persons or vehicles in your neighborhood and don’t be hesitant to report them to the 911 center.
- Be proactive in your neighborhood and consider forming a Neighborhood Watch group with the assistance of the Sheriff’s Office or your City Police Department.
Vehicle and holiday shopping Safety:
- Lock your car and make sure the windows are closed even when leaving it unattended for a brief time.
- Take valuables inside your home, keeping them out of view, i.e. GPS units, I
- Ipods, backpacks, purses, sunglasses etc.
- Park in well-lighted areas, close to store entrances if possible.
- Be aware of persons in parking lots, especially near your car. Report suspicious persons and activity.
- If shopping late in the evening, consider shopping with a friend.
- Lock all packages in your trunk.
- Carry only the charge cards and cash that you will need.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t allow your attention to become distracted from your purse or packages.
- If you have to wait for a ride, wait in a busy, well-lit location.
Sheriff Wowak & Staff, “Holiday Tips from Sheriff Wowak & Staff”, Aptos, 2010.
Finally, if you are a victim of a crime, report it to the police immediately by calling 9-1-1.
“Reported thefts are often difficult to solve but unreported crimes never get solved.” – Sheriff Wowak
We hope these tips will help you stay safe during this holiday season, as well as all year long.
Happy Holidays to everyone from Kendall & Potter Property Management!