Police alert Bird Rock residents to burglary spike in the area

Northern Division Police:

(619) 531-3200

By Dave Schwab

Ten residential burglaries occurring in the last two months in Bird Rock had one thing in common. “In all but one incidence, the point of entry was an unlocked door or window,” San Diego Police Lt. Paul Rorrison told Bird Rock residents at a special meeting at Bird Rock Elementary School called last week to discuss home security concerns in the La Jolla neighborhood.

Rorrison, who’s in charge of scheduling and overseeing three police patrols a day, seven days a week in the area advised, “If you’re a (crime) victim, let us know. If we don’t know about it — we can’t do anything about it. If you see something that isn’t right: Call us.”

Responding to audience queries about what to do about strange solicitors canvassing door to door, community relations officer Alan Alvarez said, “Don’t answer the door.” Alvarez pointed out solicitors can be criminals who often employ runaways or homeless youth to case homes — and neighborhoods — to see which residences have valuables or easy access.

The two San Diego Police Department Northern Division officers, whose beat includes La Jolla, distributed a map showing 33 reported crimes throughout Bird Rock and where they occurred from Nov. 25, 2011 to Jan. 16, 2012. The crime list included 12 car prowls, 5 auto thefts, 2 commercial burglaries, 10 residential burglaries and 5 vandalisms.

Michelle Fulks, head of Bird Rock’s Neighborhood Watch Program, said it’s important to document the day and time of a crime incident and get an incident number. She added it’s also good advice to make sure there are visible addresses on the rear, as well as the front, of homes to help officers locate crime scenes.

Target hardening is the most important thing residents can do to discourage home burglaries, noted Rorrison, “crooks want an easy victim.”

Rorrison added many home burglaries happen during the day when residents aren’t expected to be home.

“If you have double locks, use them,” advised Alvarez about home security. “Padlock side gates and close garage doors locking all doors leading into homes.”

Regarding car theft, Alvarez said, “There is only a piece of glass separating a prowler from the interior of a vehicle. It’s a 5-second smash, grab and go. People shouldn’t use their cars as storage lockers, leaving valuables in full view.”

After the meeting, Alvarez talked about what burglary victims should do.

“Don’t touch anything, especially if there’s a point of entry,” he said. “If your doors and windows are wide open when you come home, call police to have them check the house first.”

Alvarez added fingerprints are generally taken around points of entry and come out best on smooth surfaces like glass or metal.

He explained that how long it takes for police to respond to a particular call depends upon what “priority” that call is, and how busy it is at the time. He added crimes in progress get the highest priority and are responded to the most quickly.

Discussing how a crime is recorded, Alvarez said an officer is sent to the scene to take a statement from the victim, and examine the crime scene “where the points of entry are, what items were taken, etc.”

After that, Alvarez said standard procedure is for officers to do fingerprinting, as well as a witness check, asking neighbors if they’ve seen or heard anything, before filing a crime report.

Neighborhood Watch is invaluable in crime prevention for a number of reasons Alvarez said. “It’s a networking communications system and that network is the eyes and ears of the police. It also warns people to be wary of stuff that is going on.”

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