One of the primary concerns of any city is how to reduce the amount of crime in their municipality. While having police patrol an area and having jails to hold people are necessary, they are largely reactive. Anyone listening to police bandwidth knows most of the time, they are reacting to the incidents reported by the community. Additionally, one of the metrics of a good police force is response time, or how quickly they can arrive at an incident to provide assistance and make people safe.
While this is a good system, it is largely REACTIVE. Meaning, it is a response to crime, as opposed to a means to prevent crime. Imagine a fire department spending most of its time putting out fires, as opposed to training people and enforcing fire code to PREVENT fires.
Crime prevention is largely in the hands of the public. And honestly, this can have a larger impact on crime than how many police located in an area. So this is an attempt to assist the police officers in our community. The more crime prevention we include in our homes, businesses and way of life, the more effective the police can be in our community.
The following are the top crimes performed in San Pedro across the past three years. These 5 crimes, out of thirty two in the listings, contribute to 58% of the crime rate in town. Luckily, all of the crimes are property crimes and thus we have a great deal of impact if we take preventative measures. These tips seem like common sense, but these are the consistent and constant way crimes are committed.
Theft (Petty) – This is a crime of opportunity when something under the price of 950 dollars is stolen due to easy access. Usually, the item is out in public and displayed and requires no effort to steal than to reach out and take it. The items stolen can be anything and are often times relatively cheap (sunglasses, shoes, backpacks) or the money amount is under a thousand dollars. Someone stealing 20 dollars is considered Petty Theft.
1. Be conscious on how you carry your money. Keeping wallets in pockets with buttons and zippers reduces the chances of theft.
2. Leave valuables at home that are not required.
3. Secure bags and purses. Make sure they are always on your person.
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) – This is a crime where a vehicle worth more than 950 dollars is stolen. Often times, the vehicle is stolen because easy access was given (Car windows down, unlocked car, keys in the vehicle).
1. Don’t leave your car unlocked
2. Never leave your car running unattended
3. Do not leave spare keys near your vehicle
4. Never leave your windows open
5. Park in well-lit areas
6. Don’t leave valuables in your car. This offers an incentive to enter the vehicle.
Burglary from Vehicle – This is crime where a person actively has to break into a car to steal something. Usually, it requires effort on part of the thief, either by breaking a window or picking a door lock.
1. Keep your car tidy. Items inside a vehicle entice burglars who are looking for cheap goods to sell quickly.
2. Conceal any valuables in your vehicle BEFORE you park, preferably in the trunk.
3. Completely close windows and sunroofs. Gaps in windows can disable the pressure censors in some car alarms
4. Park for visibility. Avoid fences, foliage and other objects that block view of your car.\
Burglary – This crime is when a person forcefully enters a home or business to steal.
1. Make the home look occupied and difficult to break in (Security doors, lights, etc.)
2. Lock all outside doors and windows.
3. Keep garage door closed and locked, as well as garden and storage containers
4. Sliding glass doors are vulnerable and require special locks
5. Never leave keys under doormats or flowerpots
6. Get to know your neighbors
Shoplifting – This is a version of Petty (Theft), but specific to theft of merchandise from a store or a place of business.
1. Clean and organized business space means things are less likely to be missed
2. Customer Service: Greeting each customer and giving them attention dissuades most thieves
3. Signage: Numerous and redundant signage lets thieves know you are on alert
4. Coordinate with neighborhood businesses. Sharing information to prevent to identify repeat thieves
5. Hire adequate number of employees for coverage.