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Public Safety Advisory Regarding Recent Off-campus Burglaries

Oct 15, 2013

Since Oct. 1, Pacific's Public Safety office received several reports of auto burglaries occurring during the late afternoon and early evening hours. All of the auto burglaries occurred off campus, with the majority occurring along Mendocino Ave.

Suspects have targeted backpacks that are exposed in the vehicle and usually break a window. Losses range from gym clothes to electronics. These burglaries take seconds to commit, but victims can suffer great losses.  

Public Safety officers have made several arrests, including one on Oct. 14 of a subject committing a theft outside the Classroom Building, but incidents continued. Again last week, after spotting a subject on video leaving the area on a bicycle carrying a backpack, officers conducted a stakeout. They arrested an individual after spotting him looking through several vehicle windows. He was on probation for similar violations and had a felony warrant and was carrying a knife with a window punch used to break windows.

Public Safety encourages all members of the Pacific community to be vigilant and take precautions to avoid future incidents. Please be aware and advise your colleagues and students of the following tips:

If you see someone acting suspicious (looking in windows, trying door handles, being evasive if asked questions, etc.) call Public Safety at 209.946.2537

  • Don't leave valuables in your car in plain sight. Thieves have been targeting backpacks, and suspects may even target your gym bag not knowing the contents. Valuables left in the open in a car immediately become a target.

  • If you are going to secure valuables in your trunk, consider doing it prior to arriving at the University. Many vehicles allow access to the trunk via a switch inside the interior of the vehicle. If the suspect sees you placing valuables in your trunk, they can pop your window and activate the trunk release. This includes packages, backpacks, gym bags, GPS units, MP3 players, and so forth. Someone may be watching when you put items under a seat or throw something over them. An opportunistic thief is on the lookout for trunk-packing, and can break into your car the minute you're out of sight.

  • SUVs and pickups are common auto-burglary targets because they don't have a "trunk" to hold valuables. The driver/passenger generally just hides their valuables out of sight. Thieves know this, and do check glove compartments and behind and under seats. It only takes a few seconds to check typical hiding places.

  • Once home, unload your valuables immediately. Do not store valuables in your car any longer than necessary, and certainly never overnight.

  • Whenever possible try to park in busy, well-lit, well-traveled areas. Large anonymous lots are hit by thieves much more often than parking spaces immediately adjacent to residential housing or other occupied buildings and where there is frequent vehicular and pedestrian movement. Auto burglars prefer breaking into cars where they will not observed or attract notice, and choose their targets accordingly.

Most importantly, IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. Many Public Safety arrests occurred as a result of someone being aware and calling to report it.

For more safety tips, visit the Public Safety website.

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