My name is Officer Antoon and I am with the Fairview Park Police Department. I am writing this column to address an easily preventable crime that has occurred far too often. Crime is unfortunately everywhere. I do believe, however, that we live in a safe and comfortable community and that the law enforcement officers in this and surrounding communities are dedicated to keeping it that way.
A number of thefts from vehicles have been reported recently, occurring between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. on various side streets in Fairview Park. Similar reports have also been made in the surrounding suburbs. The suspect or suspects have been entering numerous vehicles and taking small items of value. Now, I chose my words carefully for a reason. The majority of these vehicles have not technically been broken into, simply entered. Why? Because they were unlocked.
The suspects walk from driveway to driveway, car to car, tugging on door handles. They very rarely smash windows or pry open doors. If the vehicle is unlocked, they go through it, steal your property, and move on. If the vehicle is locked, they simply move on. The suspects move fast. They do not care if you are home or not. If the door opens, they are in and out in seconds, usually searching the glove compartment and center consoles.
Victims continue to call in to report that their vehicles were broken into. When asked if the door was locked, they almost always report that it was unlocked. We police officers are doing what we can to try and catch the criminals. One suspect was recently arrested, who also happened to be arrested for stealing items from vehicles earlier this year. We are regularly patrolling the side streets at all hours of the day and night with special attention given to the side streets that have been hit more often. However, streets all over the city have been targeted throughout this past year.
Reports regarding thefts from vehicles by the Fairview Park Police Department since January 1, 2015 are as follows:
2 vehicles had their windows broken to gain entry.
4 vehicles had their catalytic converter stolen.
2 vehicles had their hubcaps stolen.
2 vehicles believed to be locked were entered with no damage to the door or window.
120 unlocked vehicles were reported entered.
It is obvious which vehicles are being targeted. Items reported stolen are usually spare change, small electronic items, and sunglasses. In a few cases, pocket knives, and one firearm were taken. We take these crimes very seriously, and so should you. Do not let these criminals make you a victim. Please remove your valuables and weapons from your vehicle...and lock the doors.