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Spike seen in home burglaries during holidays


Last updated 2/7/2013 at Noon

A spike in home burglaries was seen in the Fallbrook area in December, Sheriff’s authorities reported.

“Typically, we see a seasonal rise during that time,” said Lt. Todd Richardson. “We had 14 residential burglaries in December. Previous months have between six and nine.”

Richardson said he expects to see lower statistics for January, perhaps seven for the month.

“We’ve got some of the right people back in jail; more drug users have been arrested,” said Richardson, pointing to the connection between drug-users and crime committed to support those habits.

“We see that those go hand-in-hand,” he explained.

Richardson also said arrests had been made recently of individuals known to “panhandle” in parking lots of local shopping centers.

“We did take some of the panhandlers to lock up because several of them have a history of theft, burglary, and drug abuse,” he said.

Local panhandlers, Richardson said, are successful in getting citizens to fund their drug habits.

“People are trying to be compassionate, but the reality is that four or five of these individuals are known heroin addicts,” he explained. “All people are doing is supporting their habit. In addition, they burglarize vehicles and homes to fund it.”

In looking at the residential burglary cases for December, Richardson said “the majority were unsecured locations,” meaning access was easy.

“Many of them were probably preventable if people would lock up their homes, have someone check on their house while they are gone, or have our senior patrol do free vacation checks,” he said.

Richardson encouraged neighbors to keep their eyes open.

“As a village, we need to watch out for each other; watch out for your neighbor’s house,” he said, adding that residents should watch for individuals checking out recycle bins as they could be “casing” houses to see who is home.

“We hope people will call us when they see people going around looking in recycle bins; we would like to go by and see who they are,” said Richardson.

The Sheriff’s Dept. also offers a free home security inspection to local residents in order to provide tips on how to make a dwelling more secure from theft.

Sheriff’s crime prevention specialist, John McLelland performs those inspections and shared a piece of advice after reviewing the burglaries from this past holiday season.

“I could see that burglars are finding homes with bathroom windows open and using that as a point of entry,” said McLelland. “You may think those windows don’t look that big, and are located high, but the reality is burglars look to moveable items to stand on to get in them.”

Richardson said when it comes to vehicle burglaries, which are also frequent, favored items are CDs and GPS systems.

“If you are leaving CDs laying on your car seat, you might as well be leaving cash there,” said Richardson. “A [thief] can get $5 for each CD at a used record shop. The other big items are GPS (global positioning systems).

“They are hanging on the dash saying ‘take me, take me;’ they are worth $300 to $400 and they sell them on the street for $35, he said.

The biggest challenge for law enforcement, Richardson said, is keeping those that have been arrested off the street for a reasonable amount of time for their crime.

“They have to work on keeping them behind bars,” said Richardson.

Editor’s Note: To schedule a free home security consultation, call John McLelland at (760) 451-3124. To report suspicious activity in your neighborhood or in the community, call Sheriff’s dispatch at (760)728-1113.


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