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May 7, 2009

Car burglars! Tire thieves! Walnut Creek besieged? A sign of the apocalypse?

Is Walnut Creek going to you-know-where?

First, as Walnut Creek blogger DUBC reports, a resident of the Keys Condomiums on Civic Drive woke up one morning last week to find all four wheels had been stolen. But as a "consolation prize," the thief left the sedan propped up on four milk crates. You've got to check out this photo on the DUBC's website. It's a classic, though I'm sure the car owner isn't tickled.


Second, I came across this blog on the Diablo magazine website. Apparently, Walnut Creek police are warning people to not leave purses, backpacks, laptops, and other valuables sitting in plain view in their cars. This warning came after Diablo received word from a reader about her own unpleasant experience. The reader said she had briefly parked at Heather Farm Park this week and locked her purse in the car to pop in to use the "facilities." This was at about 3:30 in the afternoon. When she returned, her car window had been smashed open, and her purse was gone.


Lt. Shelly James said Walnut Creek police have noticed, not necessarily a radical jump, but what would be better described as an uptick in such "crimes of opportunity." According to this Diablo blog, thieves are preying on parking garage and lots in towns where there are lots of cars, potentially filled with goodies in plain view, to quickly snatch. The thieves are willing to take risks, even do a smash and grab in broad daylight. The pickings are so easy, and the thieves can't walk away from a quick source of loot.



“Walnut Creek isn’t a small town anymore," James told Diablo. She added that the recession might be prompting thieves to seize those opportunities more than ever and even in brazen ways, like in the middle of the afternoon in a public parking lot.

“It’s probably increasing with the economy,” she says. “People are more desperate and do these things than in the past.”

James advises people driving to Walnut Creek to shop, eat, see a movie, or use one of the parks to always take their valuables with them or lock them up in their trunks.


I would say, no kidding. But I have to confess that I have been known to, yes, leave my purse in the car at my gym when I go to work out in the morning. It's early morning, I think. Who can see inside my car?Also, I cover my purse with a sweatshirt, or newspapers...


Silly me. Recently, I had to take my car in for some basic service, including the fact that the handle and lock on the front passenger door were not working properly. The mechanics were able to fix it without much difficulty (and no cost to me!). I was told that the problem was probably caused by someone tampering with the lock, trying to break in.


So, yes, I'll start taking Lt. James' advice. No more leaving my purse, gym bag, or other valuables in my car in plain view--including coins--available for a thief to quickly steal.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I lived in San Francisco for 25 years and now that I live in Walnut Creek, I'm really amazed by all the people who leave their purses, computers, briefcases, etc., in their cars, whether locked or otherwise. Call it an overly cautious urban perspective, but the Walnut Creek police reports bear me out on this; most of the property losses are crimes of "convenience," where some perpetrator can quickly access the inside of a car to snatch up the "present" so thoughtfully left out for him to take.

On the plus side, it seems to me that crimes of hard-core theft (purse snatchings, burglaries) or real violence are still really rare in Walnut Creek.

But leave a purse in a car? No, no, no, no, no.

Masterlock said...

We've had a rash of burglaries in our neighborhood as well, so we had a police rep come over and do a neighborhood watch campaign. It's honestly shocking how many of these types of crimes occurring lately, how we don't hear about them and how easy they are to prevent.

Anonymous said...

Mom,

As to putting your valuables and purse in the trunk of the car.....do so BEFORE you get to your destination. There are people watching for such actions in parking lots and accessing the trunk is easy, just takes a bit longer. Also, that person watching you might wait for your return if he/she knows that what is there is worth the extra effort to "pick up" while at the shopping center.

Miles said...

7:46 is probably right, these criminals are a lot more sophisticated than we give them credit for. Our local patrol officer was telling us burglars in our hood are using a scout woman that follows moms to school with the kids while a crew gets in the house and calls when on the way back home so they have time to clear out. Scary stuff.

hapamama said...

I've been living in Walnut Creek for almost 12 years, and car burglaries in the Oak RD/Civic Dr corridor have been an issue the entire time. Hardly surprising.

Soccer Mom said...

Great thoughts readers! I, too, lived in San Francisco, and we parked on the street, and I NEVER would have left my purse in the car, or anything valuable within plain view. Also, what 7:46 said, you're probably right. The experience that woman had at Heather Farm Park proves it. Police think the thief was watching and saw her leave her car WITHOUT her purse, and that's why he knew to try break into her car.

scott summer said...

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