After auto thefts jumped 11% during 2002, Burbank Police are
crediting a variety of tactics with sparking a 21% drop in such
crimes during the first quarter of 2003.
The reductions come at a time when car thefts continue to increase
throughout the San Fernando Valley. During the first quarter of 2003,
LAPD officials said auto thefts in North Hollywood were up 8.8% over
the previous year.
To combat the spike in car theft, Lt. Kevin Kraft said police made
some increases in deployments, but also concentrated officers in
areas where thefts were occurring.
“A lot of it is just very high visibility,” he said. “If we have
someone come in from out of town to commit a crime and they see a
police officer, they’ll likely leave our city and go to another
In addition to having more officers in the most affected areas,
Kraft said officers are being encouraged to get out and talk to more
people within their beats. They are also being more vigilant about
checking vehicle registration and identification for people being
cited for minor violations.
Stronger enforcement of narcotics violations is also contributing
to fewer cars being stolen, Kraft said.
“There’s always going to be a connection between property crime
and narcotics abuse,” he said.
Thefts of rental cars in- creased in 2002, in part because more
people were using stolen identity infor- mation to rent cars, Kraft
said. While officers have encour- aged rental agencies to be more
vigilant about thoroughly checking identification, Kraft said it is
unclear if those efforts factored into the lower theft rates.