The Sheriff’s Crime Analysis Unit has done a one-month comparison of crime statistics between March 2019 and March 2020, and it comes as no surprise that overall reported crimes are down due to COVID-19. However, we are seeing an uptick in commercial burglaries and thefts, and stolen vehicles.
A common factor when vehicles are reported stolen is that many are taken when the keys are left inside. These crimes of opportunity are created by vehicle owners who often leave their vehicles idling and unattended while running short errands, or they leave keys inside their parked vehicles. Many people are unaware that it is a violation of the California Vehicle Code to leave a vehicle unattended with the engine running. Simply locking your car and taking the key with you will substantially reduce the number of vehicles stolen countywide.
We also ask that you remove valuable property from your vehicle and lock it up when you park. Many thieves target unlocked vehicles and those that conspicuously contain valuable property, such as purses, wallets, or phones. These small steps can prevent a majority of the property crimes that occur every day.
The uptick in commercial burglaries and thefts is likely due to the fact that many businesses are closed, which leaves commercial zones more vulnerable while they are being visited by far fewer people than normal. As a result, deputies are focusing more attention on commercial and retail areas to deter property crimes.
Our jail population has gone down while the court system has delayed many proceedings due to the state of emergency. That means there are more criminals out of custody right now, and many of those criminals are looking for ways to separate you from your money and valuable property. Please be aware of your surroundings while shopping and in public areas. Take steps to secure your valuables and be sure to report any suspicious or criminal activity by calling 911 or (805)654-9511.