If you want to keep your holidays happy, heed the warning of the Los Angeles Police Department: Be watchful and keep your gifts and belongings out of sight and under lock and key.
The LAPD reported that during the last week a spike has occurred in residential and commercial burglaries in the Topanga Division area. And while clusters of the crime have been noted in the West Hills and Woodland Hills communities, burglaries have also been reported up and down the Topanga Canyon corridor, including Chatsworth.
“Businesses are being broken into. Stolen vehicles … warehouses where people go in and steal water regulators [which thieves then sell for $100 to $150 or recycle for use as copper metal]
LAPD recommended that residents take a number of precautions to protect their valuables, including personal items, heirlooms, vehicles and business equipment and products:
•When leaving home, lock or secure all doors and windows;
•When travelling, notify the post office and newspaper to suspend deliveries, to be retrieved later. Inform a friend or neighbor of any absence and ask them to keep an eye on the residence and notify the police of any unusual or suspicious activity in the area;
•Set porch light or lights inside the home on a timer so it looks like someone is home during the evening;
LAPD also recommended that when residents park at shopping centers, parking lots or streets to “not park [far] away. Park close to the front, in a safe area where there’s light. Keep your car locked and don’t leave [personal items like] purses, wallets, iPods, laptops … in plain sight.”
The LAPD also has reprised its “Lock it, Hide it, Keep it” campaign this season. This applies to homes, businesses and vehicles. The phrase is a helpful way to remember to lock your doors, hide valuables from sight (and draw the shades if at home or office to prevent them from being seen) and when shopping, park in well-lit areas and lock purchases in your trunk.
An increase in burglaries might come as a surprise to Chatsworth residents, particularly those who have lived in the community for some time.
“Chatsworth’s [historically been] a very safe, well-rounded community, where business owners know each other, everyone knows each other. But people are constantly coming in from surrounding communities and stealing.”