RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - While outdoor lovers flock to the trailheads and river this summer, burglars are doing the same.
Data from the Washoe county sheriff's office shows an increase of car thefts during this busy season. Car burglaries are the most common crime in Nevada and the most preventable, and it doesn’t take much to outsmart the criminal.
At Mayberry Park, droves of people are heading out to float the river. They’re sure to not forget the tubes, the drinks, and the sunblock, and to prevent themselves for being a victim of car theft.
Local, Steve Bronaugh isn't taking any chances.
"I have hiding spots for special things,” he says. “ You just have to be smart about everything. Just think like a criminal, if you can do that. "
Assistant Sheriff Darin Balaam knows what's going on a criminal mind.
“What individuals do, is that they're opportunists, so they're going to walk by and window shop, and if they see it, they're going to try to get it,” says Balaam.
Thieves know as people head out to the river or to a trail, they're going to be gone a long time, thus giving themselves a larger window of opportunity.
That's why volunteers and patrol officers are out at recreational parks handing out flyers for the Take Control Campaign. Signs are also posted at the entrances in order to spread awareness.
“ It’s to ] educate them, and give them tips to prevent themselves from being victims, and that's to take control,” says Balaam.
The key messages of Take ConTRoL are:
C – Clean it Out: remove valuables from your vehicle
T – Take your keys with you. Never leave your car running
R – Report suspicious activity or crimes to the proper authorities as soon as possible
L – Lock your doors every time. Sheriff’s Office statistics show that 75 percent of this year’s vehicle burglaries involved vehicles that were left unlocked
Locking doors is the most important step. Balaam says, with vehicle burglaries, over 75% are committed on vehicles that are unlocked.
And that 75% is just with reported burglaries. In the past three summers, sheriff investigators identified 54 vehicle burglaries just at county parks and trailheads.