Viewpoint: Area seeing increase in thefts from cars, protect yourselfMinnesota has many summer pastimes; for some it’s a day at the beach, a trip to the cabin or a bike ride, and unfortunately, for a few it’s car vandalism, damage to property and theft.
By: Capt. Pete Koerner, South Washington County Bulletin
Minnesota has many summer pastimes; for some it’s a day at the beach, a trip to the cabin or a bike ride, and unfortunately, for a few it’s car vandalism, damage to property and theft. In recent weeks, our city has experienced an increase in thefts from motor vehicles and tampering with motor vehicles throughout many neighborhoods. Most of these thefts have been crimes of opportunity. Although we cannot prevent these incidents entirely we can take measures to protect ourselves, our homes and our belongings. The following are just a few of those measures:
- Lock all vehicles that remain outside. Remove garage door openers and any other items that might tempt someone. Don’t leave cell phones, money or laptop computers in your vehicle.
- Do not leave bicycles or other items of value outside during the night or when you are away from the residence.
- Keep garage doors closed. A popular source of alcohol for young people is the refrigerators in many garages.
As a law enforcement agency, the Cottage Grove Police Department is here to serve its citizens. Involved citizens who are aware of their surroundings and who report suspicious activity are a tremendous help when they report the activity to the police in a timely manner. While taking reports, officers have been approached by citizens that reported seeing something suspicious. Through some of the investigations, it was discovered that neighbors had unknowingly seen or heard the theft. When people take an active interest in their neighborhood’s well being, it really makes a difference. Recently, officers were able to arrest some teens that were stealing from vehicles after receiving a call from a concerned neighbor.
Another area that can greatly reduce the amount of theft and vandalism is following the city curfew ordinance. Cottage Grove police officers are encouraged to educate and enforce the ordinance. The times and ages are as follows:
Under 12 years of age — 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday
12 to 14 years of age — 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday
15 to 16 years of age — 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday
17-year-olds — No curfew
The Cottage Grove Police Department is increasing residential patrols, but still needs your help. Remember to reduce the opportunities to be victimized, enforce curfews and report suspicious behavior immediately. If you are looking for ways to help, get involved in the Neighborhood Watch Program. Information about the program is located on the city’s Web page at www.cottage-grove.org.
Finally, I’d like to invite the community to participate in this year’s National Night Out, an evening when communities come together to say farewell to drugs and crime in their neighborhoods. I encourage all of you to organize, if not attend, a block party in your neighborhood to show your commitment to your neighborhood that night. National Night Out will be held on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008. Register your neighborhood to ensure visits from police and fire at your block party. Information and a registration form are available on the city’s Web page.
Capt. Pete Koerner is Cottage Grove’s deputy director of public safety for the administrative division.