JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — Deputies have see a spike in car break-ins and thefts as many people park at popular recreation areas to enjoy the warm summer weather, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO).
"Deputies are reminding outdoor enthusiasts to be careful when leaving vehicles unattended, especially in remote areas. Deputies have seen a recent spike in reports of vehicle break-ins, with many occurring near Applegate Lake," the agency said.
Between May 11 and July 11, deputies responded to 54 calls for thefts from vehicles throughout Jackson County — a 13 percent increase from the same period of time last year, according to JCSO. Many of these calls came from people who had parked in recreation areas.
“In the last two months, we’ve received three reports of thefts from vehicles at the Table Rock trailheads,” said Sergeant Julie Denney. “But in the more remote area of Applegate Lake, we’ve had nine theft reports in just the last five weeks.”
Two thefts in the area were reported on July 10 alone.
On one of those occasions, the victim was out fishing near a bridge at the south end of Applegate Lake. He later told deputies that he saw two suspects smash the window of his pickup truck and steal his phone. He described the suspects as white men in their late 20s or early 30s with long, dark hair.
"The suspects sped away to the south, toward Seattle Bar, in a blue Audi hatchback. Anyone with information about the suspects’ identities can call the JCSO tip line at (541) 774-8333. Refer to case #19-14193," the Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies offered the following tips to help prevent thefts from vehicles:
- Park in a well-lit, visible area. Busy parking lots are less likely to attract thieves.
- Roll up your windows and lock your doors. Most thieves are looking for an easy target and don’t want to break a window because the noise attracts attention.
- Use a car alarm with a visible signal like a blinking light.
- Don’t leave anything of value in your car. Thieves will break a window to gain entry if they see something they want inside, even if it’s just loose change.
- If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, hide them before you arrive. Thieves often stake out parking areas; they’ll see you putting valuables in your trunk.
- Never keep a spare key inside your car.
- If your ID or credit cards are stolen, your identity will likely be next. Call your financial institutions right away to cancel your accounts.
- Be vigilant for a home burglary if your house keys or items with your address were stolen.
Deputies say that it isn't uncommon for thefts to go unreported, and they urge people to report them "no matter how minor they may seem."
“Even if we are unable to solve a particular case, it helps us to know where crimes are occurring,” said Sergeant Denney. “Then we can focus our proactive patrols in problem areas.”
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