APD: Hide your stuff or lose it

City of Arcata


While preparing for a Public Safety Committee meeting reporting out on RIMS Dashboard crime data the Arcata Police Department conducted an analysis of all theft cases reported to APD during the month of December 2020.  Of the 63 reported theft cases, 15 bicycles were stolen and 25 parked vehicles were broken into; both crime types accounting for 63% of all theft cases for the month.

In most cases the vehicles were locked and the property stolen was visible from outside.  The suspects smashed a window, a common modus operandi, and stole property which oftentimes consisted of clothing, sunglasses, cash, luggage, camping gear and in one case, the entire contents of the victim's personal property that was packed for a move out of the area beginning the next morning.  These crimes can take less than a minute to complete and oftentimes occur overnight.

This analysis is being shared with community members in Arcata in order to draw attention to the frequency of theft related crimes in Arcata and to encourage community members to take the necessary steps to safeguard their property.  While not recommended, APD has learned that many people who remove all property from their vehicles at night oftentimes leave their doors unlocked to avoid having to pay several hundred dollars to replace a window broken by a suspect intent on simply rummaging through a parked vehicle in search of property of some value to them.  Suspects barter, trade or sell stolen property to fuel drug habits or to pay for their own food, clothing and shelter.

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All vehicles, whether parked outside a home or business, hotel, on the street, in an alley or wherever the final destination is for the evening, should be emptied of all property.  Doors should be locked and windows rolled up.  Alarms should be activated and, if at all possible, park in a well lit, well traveled and/or secure parking area.  APD Officers and Detectives identified several car burglary and bicycle theft suspects by investigating the use of the victims' credit cards by suspects and by analyzing video evidence.  The Arcata Police Department encourages any victim to immediately report thefts so that the investigative process can begin as soon as practical.

In the next several months the Arcata Police Department will be implementing an on-line crime reporting system whereby community members will be directed to file reports of several crime types through a secure web based computer program.  It is expected that the number of property crimes will increase as less crime will go unreported because victims will be empowered to file a crime report on their terms and at a time that is convenient for them.  By being pro-active in utilizing crime prevention techniques however, Arcata may realize a decrease in property crimes if the necessary steps are taken to protect property.  Many theft crimes are preventable by safeguarding property in a secure location.  Remember, if they can see it they will steal it.  If you witness criminal activity please call APD Dispatch at (707) 822-2424 or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.  By continuing to work together we can all help to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in Arcata.


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