Law enforcement urges Jefferson County residents to do more to protect themselves from crime

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Could members of the public be making themselves open targets to thieves? The Jefferson County Sheriff's office is warning that too many people are doing just that ... after a series of car burglaries.

Deputies say preventing the crime can be quite simple.

According to the sheriff’s office, since the start of August, there have been 184 car burglaries. Thirteen of the incidents happened over the last weekend in the Friendly Hills neighborhood.

“I’m surprised a little bit. This has been a homey kind of neighborhood,” explained a Friendly Hills resident when he learned of the news.

But even a quiet neighborhood like Friendly Hills isn’t immune from crooks and one simple factor made at least a dozen cars prime targets.

“Every one of those was unlocked. All 13 of them,” explained Jefferson County Sheriff spokesman Mark Techmeyer.

It is something Friendly Hills homeowner Ashley Gallegos admits she’s guilty of doing. “We have never locked our doors. We feel safe. I mean our kids are outside playing,” commented Gallegos.

News of the recent series of burglaries close to home has her thinking twice about her locking habits. “It’s scary. I don’t want them to break into my house or my car or anywhere.”

But as Techmeyer pointed out, this isn’t a new problem and it's something everyone can avoid.

“Thieves take the path of least resistance. So if you don’t take the steps to make yourself a little harder to be a target, you’re setting yourself up to be a victim,” he said.

He added locking up benefits everyone when you consider the time deputies spend going out on calls for car break-ins. Deputies spend 30 minutes on average per call. With 184 car trespassing calls since August 1, simple math can show why.

“If you hit the calculator, that’s about 90 hours of man power,” Techmeyer said.

“We want to spend more time in our neighborhoods to try to prevent this type of crime. There are certainly more beneficial things deputies can be doing to keep our communities safe.”

Homeowner Sleight agreed and hopes his neighbors heed the warnings too.

“The other thing I’ve always learned is to keep valuables out of view so you don’t make yourself a target,” commented Sleight.
Deputies say everything from purses, to coats, to store bags should be removed from a car.

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