By District Attorney Summer Stephan
As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and you, the community. One way I have been doing that is through this monthly column, where I provide consumer tips on public safety matters.
Even though San Diego is the safest it has been in 49 years, theft and burglary take place every day throughout the county. Burglaries make up almost 10 percent of the cases we prosecute each year and 40 percent of our cases involve some kind of theft. So, as we head into the summer months when people tend to leave windows open or belongings in their car while they run, bike, surf or swim, here are some considerations.
Car safety tips:
- Always lock your car and roll up your windows.
- Never leave your wallet or purse in your car.
- Do not leave valuables in your car.
- Glove boxes do not equal safety, do not store gift cards or reward cards there.
- If you do leave valuables in your car, hide them before you park and get out, not when you park. Thieves watch their targets and can see you shoving valuables under your seat or storing them in your trunk.
- Do not leave the key to your car on top of your tire or in the wheel well when you’re at the beach. Thieves know that trick.
- Keep in mind that even the most cautious person can fall prey to theft. But the harder you make it to obtain your valuables, the greater likelihood you won’t have to replace them.
Home safety tips:
- Burglars tend to strike when you’re at work to avoid confrontation or getting caught, always lock your doors and windows.
- For those who leave windows open, only leave enough space for air to get through, not a human body.
- Open windows should be secured with a bar in the window sill to prevent it from being opened all the way.
- Online shoppers, consider getting a locker instead of allowing packages to be left unattended on your doorstep.
- Thieves follow delivery trucks and steal packages in broad daylight.
- Consider investing in an inexpensive doorbell camera.
- Do not leave an extra key to your home under a rock or in a planter; store it in a lockbox instead.
The theme here is to remind you to think about your personal safety. That starts with not leaving doors unlocked and windows open in order to avoid the heat. If you can, invest in a fan or cooling system. Criminals look for the easiest target, so don’t make it easy on them.
—District Attorney Summer Stephan has dedicated more than 28 years to serving justice and victims of crime as prosecutor. She is a national leader in fighting sex crimes and human trafficking and in creating smart and fair criminal justice solutions and restorative justice practices that treat the underlying causes of addiction and mental illness and that keep young people from being incarcerated.