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Do You Lock Your Doors?

Police have received 29 reports of theft from unlocked cars, garages and homes since March 1.

After nearly 30 reported cases of thefts from unlocked cars, garages and homes in the past couple months, you have to wonder: Why don't more people lock their doors?

Of the 29 reported cases of theft from unlocked cars, garages and homes since March 1, the most significant items were stolen on April 14 and 15. Both of the cars were later recovered.

Including the two vehicles, roughly $64,000 in property was stolen as a result of unlocked cars and garages. Other big ticket items included nearly $3,000 in camera equipment, Taylor Made golf clubs and several GPS devices. The recent thefts are detailed in an interactive crime map.

So, how common is it for residents in Whitefish Bay to leave their doors unlocked, and why do they do it?

One village resident said she usually leaves her car unlocked as she goes in and out throughout the day to run errands. She said she always locks her car at night and whenever she parks anywhere other than her driveway.

She said police patrol their block pretty heavily, so she feels safe.

"I still feel really secure," she said.

Others, such as Dick Marx, said they are more diligent about keeping valuables out of plain sight. A longtime resident, he said his car was broken into about five years ago, and while he said thefts are on the rise over the years, he still feels safe in the village.

"Something is going to happen every now and then," he said.

Whitefish Bay Police Chief Robert Jacobs said most of the crimes have occurred at night or in the early morning hours, but there is no other discernible pattern. He said officers are on the lookout for suspicious activity, though.

“After 9 p.m., the officers are looking for pretty much anything that’s moving in the village,” he said.

While some people intentionally do not lock their doors to avoid a smashed window, Jacobs said a smash-and-grab theft is far less likely than the crime of opportunity presented by an unlocked car door. The village has seen three smash-and-grab thefts in the past couple months, or roughly one-tenth as many thefts from unlocked cars.

“If someone were to smash a window, that would bring more attention,” he said.

Ultimately, Jacobs said, it is up to car owners to keep their vehicles locked and not leave valuables in the car.

To track when and where thefts and other crimes occur in the village, check out the recent crimes section of the village website or sign up for email crime notifications.

Dave May 25, 2011 at 10:40 PM
What do the police think of this? What are they doing differently about it? We pay enough taxes in WFB to hopefully have a successful police force. Residents should lock their doors. At the same time, there are people going through Whitefish Bay looking to steal and break in. It would be great to see the police have some solid leads or catch someone from time to time. Or maybe we should all get our own security options since the police are incompetent.
A Resident of WFB May 25, 2011 at 10:49 PM
It depends on the criminals. If they reside here with parents - especially parents that threaten to sue or better yet attorneys......well you know.
ike May 26, 2011 at 02:16 AM
@Dave - I agree, but we need to give the police a break as they can't be everywhere at all times. These crimes are happening in the dark of the night when the thief can see lights coming and duck out of the way. It'd be nice for the police to set-up some neighborhood watch programs though. My neighbors and I all tell each other when we'll be out of town, we always keep an eye out for each other. Unfortunately it's not enough. We need constant eyes, maybe even (and I don't like the big brother thing either) night trail cameras that are triggered by motion?
Kevin Buckley May 31, 2011 at 08:05 PM
@Dave- As noted by others in this thread, WFB has had some crime waves, perpetrated by (young) WFB residents. Is that 17 year old walking down the street taking a stroll, or casing cars? Regardless of who it is .. They walk or perhaps bike up to every single car in the middle of the night and see if they are unlocked. They see a cop on patrol, it's pretty easy to keep strolling along, or duck down. In short, because these crimes begin and end in 20-30 seconds, it's very hard to catch them. The best message is for residents to be observant at night, look out, down the street. If you see anyone that doesn't fit, call 911 immediately (yes really) and ask the Police to check it out. -- As a comment, my wife did that 2 years ago, and the cops swung by under a minute, and caught a guy who later confessed to break-ins and car theft. 3 things: 1. Regardless of these break-ins, WFB remains a low-crime municipality. 2. There are 5-6 squads circling WFB in their squad zones at all times. 3. They can't be everywhere, see everything.
235301 May 31, 2011 at 08:32 PM
Look at that map....almost all of those crimes are being committed at border areas to WFB with easy access but just a bit off the main entry points. These crimes are being committed by non-residents. This should be worrisome to the residents of WFB. I trust the police are not stupid and are targeting their patrols appropriately.

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