Monthly po­lice re­port de­tails grow­ing ve­hi­cle-re­lated thefts

In­dian Head cit­i­zens still not lock­ing their cars

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CHAR­LIE WRIGHT cwright@somd­

Ve­hi­cle-re­lated thefts in­creased in the town of In­dian Head over the last two months, due in large part to per­pe­tra­tors tak­ing ad­van­tage of un­locked cars.

Deputy Lee El­liot of the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice (CCSO) de­liv­ered the po­lice re­port at the monthly town meet­ing Mon­day and pointed to un­locked doors as the pri­mary cause of the in­crease in stolen prop­erty from ve­hi­cles.

“We’re still not lock­ing our doors to our ve­hi­cles,” El­liot said. “Peo­ple are still go­ing into un­locked ve­hi­cles and tak­ing valu­ables from them.”

There were five thefts from ve­hi­cles and 11 thefts of ve­hi­cles in May and June com­bined, ac­cord­ing to data pro­vided by the CCSO through CrimeRe­ports. This rep­re­sents a sub­stan­tial jump from four thefts from ve­hi­cles and six thefts of ve­hi­cles from Jan­uary

to April. The three thefts from ve­hi­cles in June mark the high­est to­tal of any month.

Over the past two months, ve­hi­cle-re­lated thefts have com­prised a steadily in­creas­ing por­tion of all prop­erty crimes, which in­clude break­ing and en­ter­ing, gen­eral crimes com­mit­ted on res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial prop­erty and com­mon theft in ad­di­tion to ve­hi­cle-re­lated of­fenses.

In May, 21.4 per­cent of prop­erty crimes were as­so­ci­ated with ve­hi­cles, and that amount rose to 23.3 per­cent in June. The pre­vi­ous high for 2017 was Fe­bru­ary at 14.8 per­cent of prop­erty crimes, and was fol­lowed by de­creases in March and April un­til the spike in May, ac­cord­ing to the CrimeRe­ports data­base.

The in­crease in ve­hi­cle-re­lated thefts may have some­thing to do with the tran­si­tion to sum­mer­time, said Mayor Bran­don Paulin.

“It’s just one of those things, more peo­ple out and walk­ing about,” Paulin said. “More hours of sun­light, it’s a lit­tle more com­fort­able to walk around.” Paulin added hol­i­days are a pop­u­lar time for th­ese crimes as well, with peo­ple driv­ing around with ad­di­tional valu­ables like presents in their cars.

La Plata ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar ve­hi­cle-re­lated crime es­ca­la­tion, which seems to sup­por t the mayor’s claims. The num­ber of in­ci­dents in May (23) ex­ceeded the to­tal from the pre­vi­ous four months (19), only to be sur­passed by the June tally (26).

El­liot has held for the past two years that the so­lu­tion rests with area car own­ers. He’s rou­tinely pleaded with res­i­dents to lock car doors and se­cure valu­ables to limit ve­hi­cle-re­lated thefts. {p class=”p1”} ”If you are not go­ing to lock your doors, don’t keep any­thing valu­able in your car,” El­liot said. “So when it is in­evitably opened by some­one try­ing to see if there are things in there you won’t have to re­port to me that your items have been stolen from your un­locked car.”

The town coun­cil main­tains a sim­i­lar po­si­tion, and en­cour­aged cit­i­zens to be aware of po­ten­tial crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

“Just keep your doors locked, don’t make it easy for them,” Paulin said. “If you see some­thing sus­pi­cious, call the sher­iff’s of­fice. It’s bet­ter to be proac­tive than re­ac­tive.”

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