Summer is just around the corner, and along with students getting out of school, and families going on vacation, the Odessa Police Department said they see an increase in property crimes during the season as well.
OPD Spokesman Cpl. Steve LeSueur said there are several factors that lead to the increase in property crimes, including thefts and burglaries.
“A lot of students are out of school during the summer months, that could contribute to it,” LeSueur said. “I know that we see an increase for it. There’s a lot of factors involved with it.”
OPD crime statistics show that so far this year, property theft has actually shown an 8.7 percent decrease from January to March of this year, with 514 cases of larceny reported, as opposed to 563 in that same time frame last year. The number of burglaries has remained consistent at 117 reports made in that period.
One form of theft that has increased this year is auto theft, which showed a 48 percent increase for January through March this year, with 77 incidents reported, compared to the 52 reported in that time frame last year. And through the month of May, OPD records show more than 40 auto burglaries or stolen vehicles were reported.
The best ways for people to avoid having their vehicle burglarized or stolen, LeSueur said, is to not leave the key in the ignition, or keep a spare key in the vehicle, and to not leave any valuable items, weapons or personal documents inside.
“The vast majority of all auto burglaries are a result of leaving the vehicle unlocked along with valuable items left in plain sight,” LeSueur said.
OPD is encouraging residents to use the website reportit.leadsonline.com, which can help police identify stolen property.
The website is free to use and allows users to store important information useful in recovering property in the event of a loss or theft. It does this by letting users record serial numbers and upload images for any valuables they have. Should those items be stolen, OPD said in a news release that information will go a long way in accurately and quickly identifying the property.