The Corvallis Police Department reported an increase in car prowls and burglaries in Spring 2020 compared to Spring 2019.
“We have compared March, April and May for 2020 to the same time period in 2019, and we found a 68 percent increase in burglaries and a 49 percent increase in car prowls,” said Lt. Joel Goodwin.
According to the CPD, there were 69 home or business burglaries in March, April, and May of 2020 compared to 41 in the previous year. Reported car prowls reached 213 during the same time period compared to 143 in 2019.
“While there is no verifiable nexus between this increase and the Stay at Home order, we have noticed there have been fewer people out and about,” explained Goodwin. “It is possible this has emboldened criminals, since there are fewer people watching what they’re doing.”
Tips to Prevent Burglaries
The first way to minimize the risk of burglary is to lock doors and windows. According to Goodwin, most of the spring burglaries and prowls showed no signs of forced entry.
Also, do what you can to enhance visibility. Use motion sensor lights or other lighting to further enhance visibility.
“Another tip for keeping your home safe is to make sure vegetation is trimmed down (or trimmed up for trees) to ensure good lines of sight around your house,” said Goodwin. “This helps eliminate hiding spots.”
Avoid leaving things in your car that may attract potential thieves. Even an empty bag or box could attract unwanted attention resulting in a broken window or other damage.
“It is common for these criminals to break into several cars in one night, often in different neighborhoods,” explained Goodwin. “Some car prowlers simply go around trying door handles to see if they can find unlocked cars, while others are perfectly happy to break out windows to steal backpacks, bags, or other things that look valuable. Sometimes the cost of the damage they cause is more expensive than the items they took.”
What to do if Your Home or Car is Broken Into
Goodwin urges community members to report break-ins or theft to the Corvallis Police Department. Even if nothing was taken, it is helpful to the CPD to have more accurate records of break-ins. Call the CPD records department at 541-766-6924 to make the report.
“This information helps our ability to analyze patterns or trends so we can focus our efforts as effectively as possible,” said Goodwin.
By Samantha Sied
Correction: This article was first published with a stock photo representing a person of color. This was not under any specified editorial direction. We at The Advocate are committed to hearing the community and correcting any and all instances of implicit bias and/or racist content. We have since changed the photo and enacted a stricter policy for when stock images are chosen.