People that experience repeated auto theft generally do NOT fix problems or take the preventative action necessary to prevent theft.
With the right tools, an experienced auto thief can break a car window in minutes.  For a pro, it takes less than a minute to steal a car.  A recent 16-year-old apprehended for auto theft admitted to stealing 20-25 autos in one-year.  Auto theft is a crime of opportunity and it is a target-rich environment.  Bayfair Mall is a hot place for auto theft [59 in 2010].  Most auto thefts [95%] are done at night.
Lt. Tudor stressed for holiday shoppers:  DO NOT drop packages off in your car and return to the mall, leaving your packages in sight.  Predators looking for opportunities see this as an easy target to burglarize.
 If your vehicle is stolen, call the police NOW, not 30 minutes after the fact.
 If your auto license plate[s] are stolen, report to the police immediately.  Stolen license plates are taken to replace plates on stolen vehicles.  Your call could make the difference in recovering a stolen car.
Detective Issac Benabou offered insight for home burglaries [entering a residence to commit a theft].  Signs a burglar will look for include:


  • Unkempt front yard that has not been mowed or watered
  • Overgrown shrubbery in front of windows or overgrown trees where the burglar can hide or be concealed from the street
  • Windows broken and/or frames not repaired; open windows
  • Free access to the back yard
  • Garbage cans that can be easily moved under windows

Burglar alarms are effective in deterring.  Almost all burglaries take place during the day.  Burglars do NOT want to confront anyone and will prowl a neighborhood looking for signs that a homeowner is not home.  Burglars will knock on doors and ask for someone (“Is Patsy here?”) or say they are looking for a dog, etc., to determine if anyone is home.  The police advise you NOT to ignore a knock, but reply that you are getting someone, you are unable to come to the door, or even you are going to call the police.  Burglars will kick down a door if they believe no one is home and the door is not visible due to shrubbery or trees.
 High gold prices and silver might be causing the rise in burglaries.  If nothing else, get decoy signs that an alarm is on, a decoy camera, or sign to Beware of Dog.
 Fingerprints are used to solve burglaries; if a home has video surveillance, there is an even better chance of solving the burglary.  The best defense against home burglary and home break-ins are “nosy neighbors.”


Detective Mike Olivera covered one of the fastest growing crimes today, financial crimes and identity thefts.  Olivera gave these tips:

  • Shred documents with bank account numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers
  • Do NOT keep social security number or card in purse

Identity thieves can obtain your personal information through the telephone, mail, Internet and at your front door.  Even legitimate sales, door-to-door magazine sales can obtain your personal information.  Your personal information, called a profile, can be sold for $1500. 
 Identity theft cost $50 billion a year in the USA.  Always be aware.  All scams will be asking you for money.  Call the police immediately if you suspect you have been scammed.  Immediately report loss of a credit card or social security card.  If you receive emails from your bank or telephone calls from your financial institution or insurance company asking for personal information such as bank account number, social security number, hang up.  Do not reply to email.  Telephone your bank or other company by the number you know is correct to authenticate the phone call or email.
 The best defense against Identity Theft is education; tell your friends, family and people you care about all the tips you learn.


Resident Wayne Gregori closed the meeting with a PowerPoint presentation on LicenseLook.  LicenseLook was created to give local residents tools to help them deter criminal activities in their community and better their chances of catching criminals. The system allows residents to organize around a common goal and gives them the tools to make their efforts visible to would-be criminals as well as to their neighbors and friends.