La Cañada Flintridge is getting safer, but that’s not stopping thieves from taking advantage of easy targets like unlocked cars. Despite an overall drop in serious crimes from this time last year, as reported by Capt. David Silversparre, commander of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, larcenies and thefts have seen a spike over the last two months.
Still, Silversparre said that the overall trend of the crime rate is a move in the right direction. La Cañada has seen 32 fewer serious crimes year-to-date compared to 2010, and 167 fewer than compared to 2009. Serious crimes, or part one offenses, is a category comprised of homicide, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, grand theft auto and arson.
Violent crimes overall dropped compared to last year, from six robberies to two and from nine aggravated assaults to seven, although there have been two rapes thus far this year compared to one each in the two previous years.
Burglaries dropped from 69 to 54, but Silversparre said the department was focused on getting that number even lower.
“We will respond to every case, we’re going to continue with burglary suppression,” said Silversparre. “We are moving in the right direction.”
Lock your cars
Although there have been nine fewer thefts this year compared to last, there has lately been an increase in these crimes. After averaging around 16 thefts a month from January to July of this year, August and September saw an average of 23 incidents, and the Sheriff’s Department is launching a new program to encourage theft prevention.
Silversparre said that these numbers included several thefts resulting from “car fishing,” where thieves browse an area looking for cars that are unlocked or have open windows, and/or have valuables visible in the car. Silversparre said that there were five cases of car fishing on the evening of Sept. 2 alone, all in the Ocean View Drive neighborhood.
Deputies in the area will now be on the lookout for cars that are parked with open windows or valuables left out in the open, and will leave fliers on the windshield alerting the owner their vehicle has been identified as a potential target for theft.
The flier contains tips for preventing vehicle theft and contact information for the sheriff’s station in both English and Spanish.
Silversparre said residents should take the steps to prevent becoming victims.
“You would never leave a hundred dollar bill on the dashboard, so why would you leave all this stuff in the car?” said Silversparre.
--Dan Siegal, Times Community News
Photo: House in La Canada Flintridge. Credit: File photo