Crime likely to increase as Tahoe-Truckee temperatures warm
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — With the summer season nearing and temperatures rising, area law enforcement officials are reminding locals and visitors that parking areas for trailheads and other outdoor gathering places are tempting to vehicle burglars searching for unattended targets of opportunity.
“I’ve said this over and over — don’t be an easy victim,” said Lt. Jeff Clark of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, who oversees Incline Village. “And it’s important to reiterate that just because someone’s looking into a car and it’s not your car, don’t be afraid to say something.”
According to previous reports, thieves are able to make a quick score when people, for example, leave their iPhones or other valuables in plain view in unlocked cars. Also, more-brazen criminals may resort to smashing one of your windows to get to those plain-view items.
Each year, the chance for these types of crimes grows throughout the Lake Tahoe region — especially along Highway 28 where people park to access trails and East Shore beaches — as more people look to have fun outdoors.
“Whether you are taking a rafting trip on the Truckee and leaving your car at one of our local river parks, or getting away from it all on a wilderness trail, remember that criminals are looking for opportunities,” WCSO spokesman Bob Harmon said in a statement. “Leave nothing of value, or any visible trace of valuables, in the car when you’re in the outdoors.
“Bring an appropriate sized backpack or water proof container to carry essential belongings and leave non-essential valuables at home.”
Anyone who is a victim of a vehicle burglary, or observes suspicious activity, is urged to contact the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
Simply put, people should “be aware of our surroundings all the time,” Clark added.
Locally, to report a crime, call the WCSO Incline Village Substation non-emergency line at 775-785-9276, or visit bit.ly/1O6cvqd to file an online report. As always, if it’s an emergency, dial 911.
TAKE PROPER STEPS
Below is a list of helpful tips and pointers provided by WCSO to help limit crimes of opportunity:
Lock the door when leaving the car. This is still one of the most common issues with vehicle burglaries.
Don’t leave valuables in the car. If valuables must be left in a vehicle, be sure to lock them in the trunk or glove compartment, not under jackets or blankets behind the seat as that is one of the first places criminals look.
Leave no trace. Don’t leave any sign that there might be valuables hidden in a vehicle by leaving items such as docking stations or connector cables visible. Leave nothing in plain sight that might make the vehicle a target for thieves, not even loose coins or a CD.
Be sure to set the car alarm or anti-theft devices. These are still effective deterrents against criminals who are looking for the easiest target.
Keep windows completely closed. Partially open windows may make your vehicle an easier target for thieves.
TRAVEL SAFE, TOO
Further, if you’re planning to travel outside the area to go camping or to a getaway in the Bay Area, WCSO provides these basic travel tips:
Never drink and drive. Even moderate consumption of wine or beer impairs reaction time and driving judgment.
Make sure trailers are properly hooked-up and camping equipment safely secured.
Use a spotter when backing a camper or trailer to protect others and avoid damage.
Make sure all passengers are properly buckled up including age-appropriate safety seats for children.
Give yourself plenty of time, drive defensively and exercise caution at all times.