Wednesday, August 18, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
August 18, 2010
LETTERS TO HOMEOWNERS MAY BE KEY TO REDUCING GARAGE BURGLARIES
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office kicked off this week a new initiative with the potential to dramatically decrease the number of home burglaries in Clay County. The program is an extension of the already-successful Like It? Lock It! Campaign that in the past targeted car owners who were leaving cars unlocked and becoming victims of auto burglary. Now, the new 2010 version of Like It? Lock It! will target residents who leave their garage doors open, making their homes - and their families – easy targets for burglaries and robberies.
The CCSO needs residents of Clay County to anticipate receiving a letter in the mail from our agency. This letter will be sent out by agency volunteers (VIPS) who receive a computerized list of locations that CCSO Patrol Deputies spotted while on duty with garages left open, vulnerable to crime. In Arapahoe County, Colorado, the sheriff’s office experienced a 40% decrease in home burglaries after this initiative was established there. That is our goal here in Clay County – to remind residents by mail to close their garage doors and of other security concerns viewed by the Patrol Deputy. While it may seem common sense to do this (to close a garage), many residents of middle class, high-density communities leave their garages open during the day and even over night unaware that burglars are cruising their streets looking for easy targets – i.e. , unattended garages.
Just think about the types of valuable items left in the average family’s garage: bikes, golf clubs, electronics, tools, lawn equipment, pressure washers, washers/dryers, holiday décor’, purses/wallets/cash left in unlocked parked cars, and much more. In addition to these items which can be easily stolen from an open garage, there are also criminals who will use an open garage as quick entry into a home with an unlocked interior door (usually into the kitchen) where they can arm themselves with a weapon and endanger the homeowners inside. Home invasion robberies can and do occur in this manner.
In 2009, 48 homes were burglarized due to a garage left open.
In the first half of 2010, 30 homes with open garages were burglarized in Clay County…a trend that could lead to an increase if not proactively prevented.
The Oakleaf area has been targeted regularly by criminals for this type of crime, so volunteers spanned out with educational flyers advising residents….if you like it, lock it. The CCSO also produced bumper stickers and key chains that will be distributed to residents across Clay County through our existing Neighborhood Watch Groups in partnership with the CCSO Community Relations Unit.
Thanks very much for helping us educate the community about this issue.