Protect your property this holiday season

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

As local stores offer specials to draw out holiday shoppers this weekend, Ridgecrest Police Department officials said they will also be bracing for the increase in theft that typically comes with the season.

“It’s important to protect your property at any time, but especially this time of year, we definitely see an increase in thefts,” said Capt. Jed McLaughlin.

During the holiday months, RPD, along with most of California, sees an uptick in the reported incidence of thefts. Items typically reported stolen include purses, electronics and other valuable items — especially those left unattended, unsecured or in plain view.

“It basically comes down to having so many soft targets,” said McLaughlin. “When people go out shopping, they leave their bags in the car while it’s in the parking lot and head to the next store. Even if you lock the door, it only takes a minute for someone to break a window and take what they find.”

Purses are often reported stolen even when people are inside stores. “Someone can leave their cart to go pick up what they want, or turn their attention to their children, and that can be enough of a window for someone to take the purses and wallets.”

Other crimes reported in neighborhoods include packages stolen from front doors.

Having a robust neighborhood watch program can help, said McLaughlin, but having surveillance cameras can also serve as a deterrent to potential burglars and as a resource for solving crimes after the fact.

“Whenever a crime is reported in an area, one of the first things we do is look around for camera coverage so we can review footage,” said McLaughlin.

“And of course it helps when people can report suspicious activities.”

Witnesses can report information to 760-499-5100.

Story First Published: 2016-11-23