SCV Sheriff’s deputies are urging local residents to safeguard themselves against becoming victims of “smash and grab”-type burglaries after five car owners were victimized Thursday in Valencia.
Earlier this year the SCV saw a rash of “smash and grab” burglaries – where a criminal breaks the window of a vehicle, usually in a business parking lot, and snatches a purse or other valuables that are typically left in plain view.
Incidents abated after the June 15 arrest of a 32-year-old Simi Valley man who was seen smashing the window of a vehicle in the parking lot of L.A. Fitness on Golden Valley Road in Saugus. He was subsequently tied to more than 50 such burglaries.
All was relatively quiet until Thursday when five more car burglaries were reported by patrons of L.A. Fitness, this time at the Valencia location at Newhall Ranch Road and Copper Hill Drive.
“These burglaries were committed on parked vehicles where the owners were patronizing a local gym and left their purses or other valuables unattended in their car, many in plain view,” a sheriff’s statement said.
The SCV Sheriff’s Station offers the following advice:
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station’s Crime Prevention Unit would like to remind all residents to take extra precautions and avoid being an easy target of this type of crime. Although property related crimes are down nearly 12 percent in 2011, in comparison to the same time period in 2010, sheriff’s officials are asking for the publics’ help in reducing them even further.
These type of vehicle burglaries occur in a few seconds. the property is gone and the victim is left putting the pieces together, canceling credit cards, and worrying about bank accounts. We can make a difference by working together to ensure valuable items, such as purses, wallets, iPhones, GPS systems, and computers, are not left inside unattended vehicles. As we mentioned, the victims primarily targeted are those leaving these types of valuable items visible in the interior compartment of the car. We have not seen one case this year where valuables were stolen from the trunk of a vehicle. The trunk is not optimal, but will help serve as a deterrent.
Please take precautions to secure your items prior to arriving at your destination or by taking them with you after you park. Make sure your vehicles are locked and parked in a well-lit area if it is going to be dark when you leave or return to your vehicle. Be cognizant of suspicious people sitting parked in their vehicles or driving around the parking lots with no apparent purpose. Example, traversing several parking lot rows while passing available parking spaces. Immediately report all suspicious activities to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at (661) 255-1121 or 9-1-1 in an emergency.
Help us stop this crime of opportunity. Do not allow yourselves to be victimized. We must all work together to strengthen our partnership, avoid becoming easy targets of these property crimes, and send a “Not in Santa Clarita” message.
Here is some more information to help you help us —
The recent incidents of theft all seem to share several common factors:
• They are generally occurring in the parking lots of local gyms during morning or evening peak workout hours.
• They are occurring when residents leave electronic items, purses, wallets or other items of value in plain view inside their parked car.
• Many of the vehicles in these recent incidents occurred after the window was smashed when the criminal opportunist apparently looked inside and saw valuable items or watched the victim park their car and leave the valuables.
Help us help you by taking a few simple precautions:
• Call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, (661) 255-1121, at the first sign of anyone casing vehicles, looking into vehicles or loitering between or around them.
• Call 9-1-1 if you see anyone tampering with automobiles.
• Lock your car doors.
• Remove garage door openers and all items of value, such as GPS devices, cell phones, computers, purses, charging cables, and I-Pods if the vehicle will be left in a parking lot, driveway or on the roadway.
• At the very least, the items should be placed out of view prior to your trip to your destination or, preferably, locked in the trunk prior to arrival if possible.
• Do not carry your Social Security card in your purse or wallet. Memorize your number.
The Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station is urging all residents to follow these simple preventative measures at any hour of the day or night, even if their car is going to be parked in a public area that seems to be well populated and safe. Santa Clarita Sheriffs will be increasing patrols in the area.
Working together we can make the difference. For questions or additional information, please contact Sergeant Darren Harris of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Crime Prevention Unit at (661) 799-5814 or Crime Prevention Zone Leader Deputy Regina Yost at (661) 799-5164.