Locking vehicles would prevent most auto burglaries and thefts and bringing guns inside at night would better keep them from thieves, Sheriff says

Posted: July 29th, 2012 | Filed under: Announcements, In the Community, News Releases, Tips & Resources

lockdoorsThere’s one thing almost never found when there is a vehicle theft or burglary in St. Bernard Parish: Broken glass on the scene where it happened.

That’s because the doors usually weren’t locked and entry was made with no trouble, Sheriff James Pohlmann said. Sometimes criminals do use devices to open locked vehicles but most of the time the victims didn’t lock them or can’t recall if they did.

Sheriff’s deputies investigating burglaries of vehicles or auto thefts hardly ever see broken glass that would indicate a forced entry, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

“I know it sounds obvious, but if more residents could take the time to lock doors it really would severely reduce their odds of becoming a crime victim,’’ he said.

Also, Pohlmann said, residents who carry guns in their vehicles for protection should bring them inside and lock them up at night to prevent thieves from stealing them.

“I know how easy it is to forget about locking car doors,’’ the sheriff said. “You’re just not thinking about it when you are removing groceries or other purchases and maybe at the same time dealing with getting your children inside.’’

And it’s good that St. Bernard is basically a safe parish and fear of crime isn’t a constant worry, he said.

But there are criminals – some of them addicts looking for anything to steal to pay for drugs – who walk around and always pull on door handles of parked vehicles at night just to see if there is an easy opportunity to take something, Sheriff Pohlmann said.

He said that has been proven in cases when deputies on patrol at night catch someone in the act and they admit they just pulled open a door handle or when home surveillance videos pick up characters walking and pulling on door handles.

“Burglars are trying to strike quickly and move to another target,’’ getting whatever they can from an unlocked vehicle such as loose change, prescription drugs, GPSs, cameras, or maybe a laptop computer,’’ Pohlmann said. “They are looking for unlocked doors to get in easily without breaking glass that would cause noise and draw attention.’’

Some vehicle burglaries recently in which doors were unlocked have resulted in guns being take, possibly to be used in other crimes, Pohlmann said. It would be better if the guns were taken inside and locked up at night, he said.

“Our whole thinking here is to make it harder for bad guys, not easier,’’ the sheriff said.

And, as always, anyone seeing suspicious activity such as people looking in vehicles or trying door handles should quickly call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 271-2501 to report it and give a description of those involved so deputies can look for them.

“Timely calls bring arrests,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said.