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How one small choice can thwart recent rash of thefts in Fox Crossing

locking the car
Posted at 8:17 PM, Aug 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-21 21:17:55-04

FOX CROSSING (NBC 26) — Over the weekend, the Village of Fox Crossing saw an increase in car thefts, according to a crime report released by Fox Crossing police.

But in 17 of the cases listed in the report, the targeted vehicles were unlocked.

One of the sites for multiple targeted vehicles over the weekend was apartment complex Cold Spring Villas.

Cold Spring Villas Property Manager Kim Hoertsch said she doesn't normally get many calls about trouble in the area, so it was strange that suddenly she had multiple people report the same problem in a short time span.

She told her affected tenants to make sure the police knew. And when the weekly crime report came out on Monday, she discovered she wasn't alone in dealing with a mini crime spree.

“I was looking at the police report, and it's all over Fox Crossing,” Hoertsch said.

Fox Crossing Community Liaison Officer Dan Wiechman confirmed the situation.

“We've had a small rash of vehicle entries — I don't want to call them break-ins, because they aren’t actually smashing windows. They're just crimes of opportunity where they're finding unlocked doors and opening them up," Wiechman said.

He also said this is the kind of crime that is easily deterred.

“Make sure that your vehicles outside have all the doors locked. Make sure you hear that chirp on the alarm; anything of value that's inside those vehicles should be taken out,” said Wiechman.

And that includes a garage door opener.

“If that garage door opener’s left inside, now they not only have access inside your car, but they have access inside of that garage as well,” Wiechman said.

The stolen items from over the weekend were varied — cash, an insurance card, and even a pair of binoculars were taken.

“You-name-it is basically what they're taking, as long as there is some sort of expectation or value to it," said Wiechman. "If it's anything from loose change in the center console to a cell phone to — we've even had a handgun in the past that's been stolen from a glove box.”

Hoertsch said it's been a long time since she's seen anything like this.

“We had one several years ago, but nothing since. I mean, this is a really nice property. It's pretty safe here. We never have anything, you know, that's really bad that goes on, but all of a sudden, you know, it's hitting all over the place,” she said. “So it's just, it's a wake-up call.”

That's why the simple action of clicking "lock" on your key fob can save you a ton of trouble and help curb the recent rash of crime.

The Fox Crossing Police Department continues to promote the nationwide movement called the "9 p.m. routine." The routine involves a series of checks to make sure all of your doors are locked and none of your valuables are left outside.

"These are very preventable crimes of opportunity. These are some very small quick measures that anybody can take if they get into the habit of doing them on a regular basis to prevent these types of calls for service. We're happy to take the call and help our community as best we can. But if we can direct those skills to other areas and prevent these types of crimes... it would really help our community as well. So, be sure to lock your doors, lock your vehicles, remove your valuables, and practice the 9 p.m. routine," Wiechman said.