LAFAYETTE, LA — Vehicle and home burglaries increase during the summer months and many of those cases involved juveniles. Police say it’s important for everyone in the community to be aware of what’s going on and report any suspicious activity.
“No matter how small it may be, if you see something, say something,” Cpt. Don Stone, a representative with Crime Stoppers, said. “The first thing you should do is contact law enforcement if you see a crime occurring, and the second thing you should do is call Crime Stoppers to report the incident.”
As we all know, a bored kid can be a dangerous kid. However, few seem to realize how many of the reported theft cases committed by juveniles are considered a “crime of opportunity.” Many happen in a place you feel safe.
“So many people have their wallets taken out of their purses when they’re at the grocery store,” Cpt. Stone said. “They set the handbag in the basket and then turn away from it while they reach for an item on the shelf. Someone will walk by and quickly grab the wallet. They don’t even notice it’s missing until they get to the counter to pay for their items.”
Creating opportunity for a crime is far too common among drivers. Often, the whole thing could have been avoided if the doors were locked.
“A lot of the times they will just walk through a neighborhood and pull on car door handles until they find one that’s unlocked,” Cpt. Stone noted. “A lot of that is juvenile activity. They’re looking for things that they don’t have.”
Unlocked cars with valuable items inside can be a strong motivator to a teen. Unfortunately, sometimes the items they find can have deadly consequences.
“A lot of guns get on the streets because they’re stolen out of vehicle burglaries,” Cpt. Stone explained. “If it happens one time, it’s one time too many. That’s one more gun on the street because of someone’s negligence.”
The same can be said for residential cases.
“During the summer a lot of people go out of town for long periods of time on vacation,” Cpt. Stone said. “Secure your valuables before you go out of town.”
Keeping an eye out for each other is the best way to not only prevent crime, but to also catch the person if something should happen.
“It’s important to get to know your neighbors,” he said. “Know their names and know who comes and goes from their house. Be suspicious. Be aware of your surroundings.”
Decreasing the number of opportunities to become a victim of a simple crime is the best deterrent. More importantly, catching an individual who has committed a crime is the best way to keep the entire community safe. For that reason, Cpt. Stone wants to make sure everyone takes advantage of the Crime Stoppers system.
“We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” he said. “You can call or text us with any information you may have.”
You can call in a tip to Crime Stoppers at (337) 344-TIPS (8477).