Residents and visitors to Humboldt County are encouraged to “leave nothing” in their vehicles while visiting local beaches and trails, after vehicle burglaries double throughout the county.
From January 1 through July 31, 2021, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received approximately 156 reports of burglaries occurring at local beaches and trailheads. This number is double that recorded during the same time period in 2020, with a noticeable increase of these cases occurring within the last month.
Statistics collected by the Sheriff’s Office indicate Samoa Beach/Dunes and Luffenholtz Beach have seen the largest amount of vehicle burglaries this year, with many of those incidents occurring on weekdays between 8-10 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.
Burglaries from vehicles, also known as car prowls, are crimes of opportunity. An offender makes a decision to break into a vehicle based on a perception that there are items of value inside the vehicle, which makes the potential payoff worth the risk. A car prowl can be completed in a minute or less, leaving very little investigative clues behind.
Because car prowl is a crime of opportunity, there are steps the public can take to prevent this crime from occurring. While it is common practice to hide valuables and other items from plain site in vehicles, this is no longer recommended to deter thieves. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office urges community members to leave nothing of value inside your vehicle when parked at local beaches and trails.
Following the “leave nothing” model, community members should:
- Keep the interior of your vehicle “showroom” clean. Always remove valuables from inside your vehicle. NEVER leave purses, bags, briefcases and wallets inside your vehicle unattended.
- Think twice when storing valuables in your trunk. If your vehicle is equipped with a trunk release button on the inside, car prowlers can easily access your vehicle’s trunk space. While “hiding” items in your trunk may reduce the chance for your vehicle to be a target, the action will not completely protect you from theft.
- Remove garage door openers, key cards, and house, work or car keys from your vehicle.
- Always lock your vehicle, even if you are home. In public places, it may be tempting to leave your vehicle windows down to avoid vandalism. However, this puts you at even more risk, leaving vehicle registration and insurance information accessible to anyone nearby and increasing your chances of falling victim to identity theft, burglaries at your home and vehicle theft.
- Ensure your car insurance covers glass damage and consider installing a more sensitive car alarm system.
Whether at the beach, at the river or on the trails, take extra precautions to protect your property while enjoying Humboldt County’s great outdoors.
To report a vehicle burglary or related criminal activity, please contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at (707) 445-7251 or visit humboldtsheriff.org/report..