News release - 1/29/2014

Published 1/29/2014 (all press releases for this day)


Jeri Williams
Chief of Police
Oxnard Police Department

R. Jason Benites
Assistant Chief

Scott Whitney
Assistant Chief

OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT

NEWS RELEASE

INCIDENT: Operation Safer and Stronger: Targeted Vehicle Thefts
DATE/TIME: Year to Date
LOCATION: Citywide
PREPARED BY: Detective Crystal Walker
CONTACT PERSON &
CONTACT INFO:
Detective Crystal Walker (805) 385-7668 or crystal.walker@oxnardpd.org

DETAILS: In keeping with the Chief of Police’s message to the community, “Working toward a Safer, Stronger Community,” the Oxnard Police Department has put together tips to assist residents and help improve public safety throughout the City of Oxnard. 

 
“There are small steps that we can all take to avoid becoming victims of crime and improve public safety.  These tips will be released on a monthly basis, as we launch our ‘Operation Safer and Stronger’ series that will address current trends occurring citywide,” said Jeri Williams, chief of police.
 
The Oxnard Police Department is introducing a new Public Awareness and Crime Prevention Series to create a better community for all of us.  These monthly crime prevention public service announcements are meant to increase awareness in Oxnard and to inform and empower our community members to minimize the likelihood of them becoming victims of a crime. 

The Oxnard Police Department would like to ask the public to remember that crime prevention begins at home and with each individual person in our community.  This embraces the idea of empowering our community members and does not solely depend on police for crime prevention.  In most cases, people only call the police after an incident has occurred.  Community members should not shy away from calling prior to an incident to ask about crime prevention tips or to report any and all suspicious activity.  For more information, contact Crime Prevention Detective Crystal Walker at the Oxnard Police Department (805)385-7668 or crystal.walker@oxnardpd.org
 
In January, we are focusing on preventing stolen vehicles and what to do in the event your vehicle is taken.
 
In the first two weeks of 2014 (compared to 2013) we have seen an increase in stolen vehicles throughout the City.  The vehicles being targeted are ’90 – ‘97 Honda and Toyota sedans.  Although this increase may appear alarming, in comparison to cities of comparable size, in California, Oxnard has a lower than average auto theft rate (Federal Bureau of Investigation UCR, 2012.)
 
Below are tips to assist with preventing vehicle thefts.
 
  • DO NOT leave your keys in your car, on or off.  If your car is left on to warm up, stay with your car.  Your car can easily be taken if you are not there to watch it.
  • DO NOT leave any valuable items in your car.  These items are a temptation for someone to break your window and steal your property.
  • DO NOT enter if you find your vehicle broken into.  Call 911 and wait elsewhere for police arrival.  Try not to touch anything as officers can possibly obtain fingerprints or other evidence.
  • Make note of suspicious persons and vehicles (including license plates). Dispatchers will ask for this critical information to better assist responding officers.
  • Do not park in dark alleys or areas with low-light.  Park in well-lit areas - in a garage, if possible.
  • Immediately report any suspicious activity!  Call our non-emergency line (805) 385-7740 from any phone, of course, in an emergency always dial 9-1-1.  Spanish translators are available for Spanish speaking individuals who call to report a crime. 
 
In addition to the no cost tips above, there are additional steps that can be done, to deter vehicle theft.  Community members can also install a vehicle tracking and location system that can be activated after the vehicle is reported stolen, and is a valuable tool in locating a stolen vehicle.  Some systems have a GPS that can pinpoint near exact location while others identify an area. 
 
Community members can also install anti-theft devices that can be attached to the steering wheel/column or brake pedal and make it difficult to drive away (Oxnard Police Department has a limited number of steering wheel locks available, free of charge, to owners of the above mentioned vehicles.  (To obtain a steer wheel lock, contact Detective Crystal Walker).  Also found useful, owners can install power cut-off switches that disconnect the battery and provide a major hurdle for car thieves.  Two other options that directly relate to recovery are contacting a company that will etch your VIN on your windows in case of theft or spraying microdots carrying the VIN all over the vehicle.  These “dots” (also known as microdots) can be etched with your VIN number and can be useful should your VIN plates be removed. 
 
The police department encourages anyone with information about any criminal incident to call 911 or (805) 385-7740 from any phone.  Spanish translators are available for Spanish speaking persons who call to report a crime.  Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the Violent Crimes Hotline at (805) 982-7070, Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477 or visit www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org  to submit a tip via text or email. In the event that you do return and find your vehicle broken into, call 911 and wait for police arrival.  Try not to touch anything as officers can possibly obtain fingerprints or other evidence.
 
“We have had tremendous success with the heightened public awareness and report of suspicious activity, and this is helping us prevent crime.  This month, calls from neighbors and community members have helped our officers make significant arrest of individuals responsible for home burglaries as well as others for illegal activity in our community.  Together, let’s continue to build on our efforts to create a Safer and Stronger Community,” said Williams.
 
The Oxnard Police Department hopes that the heightened awareness brought about by this series provides a measure of ease to the community. 
 
DATE / TIME PREPARED:  01-29-14

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