Posted on 05 December 2013 by La Habra Journal
By Lauren Davis
La Habra Journal
The message “Lock it, Hide it, Keep it” is the goal behind the La Habra Police Department’s new crime-suppression campaign launched Nov. 25.
The campaign informs the public about how to protect themselves and their vehicles from burglary and theft. Also part of the campaign is the placement of saturation patrols, where multiple officers are out in an area, and new police bicycle units into the large retail centers around Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway.
Uniformed police Explorers can also be seen in front of larger stores like Walmart and Lowe’s, passing out brochures about the new campaign. The brochures define vehicle burglaries, describe what items are most commonly stolen and detail preventative steps people can take to avoid becoming victims (such as hiding items in the trunk of a car).
According to Jeff Kepley, a La Habra police captain, the crime-suppression campaign was launched due to the results of a three-year crime data report that revealed high activities of vehicle crime in retail areas around Beach Boulevard and Imperial Highway during the holiday season.
Approximately 90 percent of the total crime that occurs in La Habra is linked to property crime, according to the police department. Of those property crimes, 31 percent involve vehicles, and 45 percent occurred due to unlocked vehicles, as stated in a LHPD press release.
Kepley said that if items are visible in a car, there is a very high chance that those items will be stolen.
“During the holiday season, crime upticks a little bit in your commercial areas,” Kepley said. “People leave valuables in their cars and burglars take advantage of that since it is a credible opportunity.”
Items like shopping bags, GPS devices, phones left on center consoles and CDs are some of the most common items to be taken from a vehicle. Kepley explained that suspects often use a variety of items like crowbars, window smashers and sophisticated lock-disabling tools to break into cars, steal things and then often sell the items for drug money.
Once the holiday season is over, the LHPD plans on moving the campaign to surrounding La Habra neighborhoods by passing out informational brochures and placing bike officers in densely populated residential areas.
“When it gets more towards summer, and we begin looking at graffiti and gang type of crime,” Kepley said. “We will shift our focus on these different crimes.”