By Mary O’KEEFE
There has been an increase in thefts and vehicle burglaries in the Crescenta Valley area of Glendale from mid-July to mid-August, according to the Glendale Police Dept.
“We are up [about] 24%,” said Glendale Police Officer Matt Zakarian. “They are minor but they are crimes.” Many of the burglaries are of unlocked vehicles.
The Glendale police’s program Hide It, Lock It, and Keep It is designed to educate the public on ways to keep their items safe from theft.
Items that are left in plain sight inside unlocked, and even locked, vehicles makes it easy for these crimes to occur.
“Even though these may be [minor] crimes, this is still important. We do not want to invite crime to our area,” Zakarian said.
He reminds community members to take items out of their vehicle, or if that is not possible, to hide the items and always lock car doors.
It is a misdemeanor when someone enters an unlocked vehicle and takes items without permission, however it is a felony when someone breaks into a vehicle, Zakarian said.
“A misdemeanor [can mean] a citation, but with a felony the suspect has to post bail,” he said.
A citation can mean that the suspect will be out on the street faster and is less serious than a felony.
Here are some tips from GPD on how to keep items safe:
Hide it. Glendale is a prime shopping destination with the Americana, the Galleria, the downtown merchants, Montrose Shopping Park and many other destinations. Thieves know this as well. When making holiday purchases, its best to take them home instead of putting them in the car and going back for more shopping. If you do decide to continue shopping, hide the purchases in the trunk so they are out of sight.
Some other helpful hints:
• Do not leave a GPS or its stand in plain sight. Leaving a stand and putting the actual GPS in the glove box is an invitation for a thief to look for it.
• Park in well-lit areas.
• Briefcases, gym bags, keys, cellphones, and wallets that a passerby can see are tempting for would-be thieves.
• Keep the vehicle registration and driver’s license with you. Potential thieves will not know where you live or be able to use that information to steal your identity.
Lock it. This should go without saying, but many times the Glendale Police Dept. takes reports from victims who have left their cars unlocked or windows down. Thieves will walk along streets checking car doors in order to take valuables from cars left unlocked.
Keep it. The GPD does not want anyone to become the victim of an auto burglary. Should you become a victim however, you should:
• Immediately call the GPD at (818) 548-4911.
• Have a list of items that were stolen to provide the responding officer, including serial numbers where applicable.
For questions about how to prevent auto burglary or to report any long-term problem, call the GPD’s Community Policing Unit at (818) 548-4015.