Crime Prevention: Most common crime in Victoria also easiest to prevent

May 3, 2014 at 12:03 a.m.

By J.T. Turner

What crimes are you most concerned about?

What crimes are you most likely to be a victim of?

The answers may surprise you. Oftentimes, people are concerned with robbery, murder, home invasion and other major crimes; however, the most common crime in Victoria and the one you are most likely to be a victim of is vehicle burglary.

Vehicle burglaries occur on a near daily basis throughout Victoria, and many of these are crimes of opportunity, which means that the burglar took advantage of an opportunity created by the victim.

Opportunities for vehicle burglaries are created by people leaving their vehicles unlocked or, if locked, leaving valuables in view of anyone walking by.

Items commonly stolen are purses, backpacks, laptops, GPS and radar detectors. A large number of items including tools, ice chests, fishing gear and lawn equipment are regularly stolen from the beds of pickups.

All some burglars have to do is check car doors while walking through a neighborhood or parking lot. When one is found unlocked, they enter the vehicle and help themselves to whatever is inside. Others force their way into vehicles by breaking a window or damaging a lock when they see something valuable inside.

When I speak to people about preventing vehicle burglaries, there are three responses that I regularly get:

1. I shouldn't have to live like that.

2. I've never locked it before, and no one has ever stolen anything.

3. The police should just arrest the criminals.

I know we shouldn't have to constantly worry about someone breaking into our cars and stealing our belongings, and in a perfect world, we wouldn't, but the reality of it is there are people in this world who will take advantage of you in a second. All you have to do is give them the opportunity to do so.

Regarding No. 2, I've never been struck by lightning either, but I sure go inside when I hear thunder. Just because it hasn't happened doesn't mean it won't.

And as far as No. 3 goes, I agree. The problem with that is that in order to have a criminal to arrest, you must first have a victim of a crime. If you take a few extra precautions, you can avoid being the victim of a vehicle burglary, and that is our goal: preventing it in the first place.

Preventing a car burglary is as simple as removing or hiding valuables and locking your doors. If you choose to leave valuables in your car, at least lock them in the trunk. You should also try to park in well-lit areas at night, and if you can, avoid parking in the street.

Don't give someone the opportunity to make you a victim.

For more information, contact Crime Prevention Officer J.T. Turner, Crime Prevention Unit, at 361-485-3808.



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