By LeaAnne Klentzman
A tri-city effort between east Fort Bend city police agencies, which includes Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, hopes to dampen the holiday heists.
Sugar Land police spokesman Doug Adolph said, “A regional enforcement initiative intended to build on successful efforts during previous holiday seasons will again target criminals caught breaking into vehicles.” Adolph went on to explain that special teams of officers from the three police departments intend to combine their efforts through targeted patrols, surveillance, and citizen education to circumvent the annual increase in motor vehicle burglaries that shopping outlets and cities experience during holiday seasons.
Adolph said, the coordinated enforcement initiative coordinated through these departments builds on previous partnerships with all aspects of the community and focuses on criminal activity occurring throughout east Fort Bend County.
SLPD Sgt. Mike Richards said, We’re aggressively attacking a problem that we see throughout the year, but more so during the holidays.” Also, according to Richards, it is vitally important that shoppers do not leave property in their vehicles that would cause their car to become a target for thieves. Richards said, “Those caught breaking into vehicles will be arrested and stand a good chance of spending their Christmas in jail.”
Police identified items typically targeted during vehicle burglaries include purses, wallets, computer equipment and electronics (i.e., I-pods, GPS devices, cellular phones and radar detectors).
Note to crooks: The tri-agency team will focus on areas identified as “hot spots” – particularly shopping centers and health clubs – with a combination of enforcement, citizen and business owner partnerships, and public awareness.
They identified the following tips to help prevent vehicle burglaries:
• Keep vehicles locked at all times.
• When parked overnight, remove all valuables from vehicles.
• When shopping, make one trip to the car with purchased merchandise, and then leave the lot. Thieves have been known to watch shoppers as they place merchandise in their cars before returning to a store.
• Never leave identification, wallets, credit cards or jewelry in vehicles while visiting fitness centers. Doing so is much riskier than using a locker inside the gym or leaving the items at home.
• If personal property must be left in a car, lock it in the trunk. Unfortunately, this option does not exist for pick-up trucks or SUVs. Thieves are aware that there is no secure place to store items in these types of vehicles.
• Finally, before you leave a vehicle, take a second to look inside and make sure nothing is visible from the outside that could attract a thief.
The Tri-City Team will be out watching to make sure Missouri City, Stafford, and Sugar Land residents and those visiting their cities to shop have a positive experience during this busy holiday season.