“Please do not leave ANY personal property visible in the car!” is the appeal issued last week by Senior Lead Officer Christopher Ragsdale of the LAPD West Los Angeles Station.
Burglary theft from motor vehicles – car break-ins – “have been on the rise throughout the West Los Angeles area,” said Officer Ragsdale. He added that this is “the highest crime in the West Los Angeles area with approximately 200 car break-ins occurring monthly.” That number is up over the last couple of months from the “normal” volume of about 80 per month. The LAPD attributes the current volume of this crime to people leaving very valuable and expensive personal property inside unattended vehicles.
Any property left unattended in a car even for just a few minutes “will be stolen,” the police warn – “even something as simple as a small sunglasses case, an empty backpack or gym bag will cause your car window to be smashed resulting in hundreds of dollars in damage alone.”
“Car burglars are stealing a variety of small expensive electronics and valuables,” said Ragsdale. “The top items being taken in most car burglaries are portable GPS systems, iPods, cellular telephones, laptop computers, purses, wallets and money.
“The West Los Angeles area continues to be a target-rich environment. Based on the history and information from arrests that have been made, we know we have a variety of car burglars that travel to the west side of Los Angeles to commit their crimes. Although many arrests have been made, the crimes continue to occur. This tells us there are numerous suspects that are targeting the area.”
Lt. Alex Padilla of the Santa Monica police force said that auto burglaries in Santa Monica have actually decreased compared to last year, but he wholeheartedly endorsed the thrust of LAPD’s advice to drivers.
Although the Los Angeles Police Department is making every effort to combat this problem, the LAPD stresses that community awareness and involvement is instrumental in the prevention of these crimes.