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Vehicle burglaries rise in county area

Sun Advocate community editor

After receiving reports on two separate car burglaries where guns were included among the stolen items, Price City Police Chief Alec Shilaos is reminding local residents to exercise caution and property protection techniques when leaving their vehicles and homes.

"We are seeing approximately one to two car burglaries per week in the Price area," said Chief Shilaos during a phone interview on Monday. "And we have had two where guns were stolen in the last three weeks."

According to the chief, several factors have contributed to the increase in motor vehicle burlaries.

"Everything from the increased transient population to more people in town and school just getting out has lead to more people on the streets. And when that happens we tend to see burglaries go up," said Shilaos. "Also the dollar is stretched pretty thin these days for obvious reasons and that could also be a contributing factor in some of these crimes."

The chief reported that overnight parking areas are always a hot spot for these types of crimes. He further related that parking anywhere with a lot of drive by traffic can put a person's vehicle in danger.

While the department has increased awareness and will be on the lookout for criminal perpetrators the Price city chief would also like to let residents know that there are steps they can take to minimize their exposure to these types of crimes.

According to Shilaos, the following actions can alleviate much of the danger of falling victim to a vehicle and general home burglary.

•Lock vehicle doors whenever the car is to be left unattended even for short periods of time. According to www.home.att, a fraud and crime prevention site, more than 50 percent of all stolen cars are unlocked.

•Use the truck for storing valuables.

•Park the car in a well lit area that is visible to surrounding businesses.

•Never leave valuables including computers, portable digital music players, cameras, phones, purses, checkbooks or anything of value in plain site when parking the car.

•Removal of a car stereo's face plate when parking the vehicle. Shilaos reported that car stereo theft is the primary motivation in many break ins.

Additional tips for protecting the the car as well as home include:

•Never leave the car running and unattended.

•Carry the car's registration and insurance information. Do not keep it in the car.

•Keep doors including the garage door, locked all times even when home or working in the yard.

•Do not hide home keys under doormats or rocks.

•Keep the outside well lit including the garage and driveway.

•Close and lock first floor windows at night.

•If possible, use a visible burglar alarm, neighborhood watch and beware of dogs decals on first floor window.

While there are many different motivations for crimes involving stolen property, the chief reported that between 80 and 90 percent of all home burglaries and 50 percent of car burglaries have connections to drug abuse.

According to the White House's drug related crime statistics, drugs are related to crime in multiple ways. Most directly as a crime of use or distribution. However, drugs are also related to crime through the effects they have on the user's behavior and by generating violence and other illegal activities.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducts an annual National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) that asks individuals living in households about their drug and alcohol use and their involvement in crimes.

The current report stipulates that past year illicit drug users were also about 16 times more likely than nonusers to report being arrested and booked for such offenses as larceny or theft; more than 14 times more likely to be arrested and booked for such offenses as driving under the influence, drunkenness or liquor law violations and more than nine times more likely to be arrested and booked on assault charges.

In their summary of the relationship between drugs and crime the site defines drug related offenses as: offenses to which a drug's pharmacological effects contribute to the crime or a crime motivated by the users need for money to support continued use.

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