Friday, March 29, 2013

A Rude Wake up Call for Some Overland Park Visitors

The recent news that several visitors to Overland Park were victims of thefts is frustrating to hear.  The news that there have been a total of 29 victims of the same type of crime this month alone is infuriating.

On the morning of March 5th, visitors left their hotel rooms and returned to the parking lot to find 15 vehicles with broken windows and stolen items.  14 more vehicles were broken into on the morning of March 27th.  A variety of items was targeted and included nearly anything that was left in these vehicles that was easy to grab. The thieves even took the time to remove the in-dash stereos of some vehicles.

Officers on the midnight shift have stepped up patrols in these areas with the goal being to prevent future break-ins or, even better, catch the culprit or culprits.  Detectives are also working hard sifting through any available evidence and following up on leads. but there are steps the public can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim.

Does this mean that the hotels aren’t safe?  No, that’s not what it means.  Thefts like these are often crimes of opportunity and hotels can be a target-rich environment.  Hotel guest sometimes have their hands full carrying in a suitcase or duffle bag full of clothes.  That GPS unit, Ipod, DVD player, camera or other such device might not seem as important to grab.  Even a cup holder of change can be a target. 

There are steps the public can take to reduce the chances of becoming a victim. Regardless of if you are visiting an area, out shopping, at work, or even at home, don’t leave items in your vehicle.  If they’re there, it is a temptation.  We are always saying, but it’s worth saying again, if someone looks like they are lurking in a parking lot, tell someone.  The hotel employees know to call the police and usually employees at businesses or apartment complexes will call police, too, but don’t hesitate to make that call yourself, if you want.

Obviously, this is not something we want to continue.  Help us, help you.  If there’s nothing there to take, the greedy will look for a victim somewhere else.