Car break-ins are top neighborhood crime in first quarter

Curtis Park continued to experience a low crime rate in the first quarter of 2018 compared to other parts of the city and county, according to police statistics.

Overall, 92 crimes were reported in the neighborhood. Most notable were increased rates of larceny and vehicle burglary.

Car break-ins were the neighborhood’s most reported crimes with 26 incidences, a 10 percent increase over the previous two years. They were scattered in the neighborhood, with about two-thirds north of the park. A number of them were on Portola Way and Marshall Way. A cluster of break-ins occurred in one evening in mid-March.

Car break-ins are primarily crimes of opportunity. The crimes typically involved purses, backpacks, laptop computers or wallets visible on a car’s seat, presenting a quick and easy opportunity for thieves. Another common occurrence is unlocked cars entered for money or documents that can later be used in identity theft.

Theft of personal property was the most reported crime in Curtis Park for several years. The majority in the first three months of 2018 took place from Donner Way north. The majority of thefts involved delivered packages, bicycles and furniture stolen from front porches. Porch delivery of online purchases has increased this crime of opportunity.

National statistics indicate about 23 million Americans have experienced package theft by “porch pirates.” The Sacramento Police wants all porch thefts to be reported. Police need data on thefts from porches to justify added coverage, educate neighbors and develop strategies to address the crime. Porch theft crimes can be reported through the police department website. Items of a high value can result in an in person report being taken.

The department has implemented a “theft bait” program in its Crime Suppression Unit. The program involves placing a package on a porch with a Global Positioning System inside. The system reports the package being moved off the porch to a police monitoring system, which then deploys a neighborhood police cruiser to the location of the package — often a car with a back seat or trunk full of other stolen packages.

The program was most effective during the 2017 holiday season. A number of thieves were caught after trailing delivery trucks.

The police initiate this program in areas with high incidences of theft, but it can be requested by neighborhood associations, neighborhood watch groups and concerned neighbors. To request this program, call the Sacramento Police Department’s District 4 Office at 916 808- 6001 and ask to speak with a representative of the Crime Suppression Unit.

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