Burglaries: Report suspicious activity to police

Managing Editor Gary DeVonApparently over the past couple of months there has been an increase in burglaries of businesses up and down the valley, and this includes north county businesses. After talking with Oroville’s new police chief, Todd Hill, we were able to learn that there are some things that can help to make your business, or home for that matter, less of a target of opportunity to thieves.

The number one thing you can do, according to Chief Hill, is to report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.

In other words, we have to do our part and watch out for fellow businesses and neighbors. Those of us in small communities are used to depending on each other, why should it be different when it comes to the people and places we do business with every day.

“I think people feel they are being a nuisance, but I’d rather they report something suspicious that turns out to be nothing, then to have a burglary take place because someone didn’t want to bother us,” says Hill.

The Chief adds that there have been occasions where someone tells them that they thought something suspicious was going on, but only after the crime occurred.

“That isn’t nearly as helpful as them letting us know beforehand. If it is just something like kids messing around, but no crime, that’s OK, that’s what we are here for, to look into it,” he said.

Hill says that just having the police respond to something, even if it turns out to be nothing, serves as a deterrent as the word gets around that people are reporting suspicious activity and law enforcement is ready to investigate it.

Other actions that business owners can take to become less of a target include keeping ones business well lit outside. He said thieves shy away from the light, preferring to hide in the dark where they are less likely to be seen.

“Crooks like places where the view is obscured and those places should be well lit up,” he said.

Other deterrents can include video surveillance, but a less costly option could be something as simple as installing an audible alarm that draws attention to the business should a break in occur.

Hill said he can’t be sure about what’s driving the recent uptick in break ins, whether it is something like a bad economy or drugs – not at least, until someone is caught and he gets them chance to interview them. While there is no solid evidence yet to who is committing the crimes, the Chief says there are indications that the criminals may be working in groups in some cases, rather than alone. He wouldn’t speculate at just what the criminals are after either, other than there seems to be a pattern of thefts of property that is not easily identifiable, like items without serial numbers.

“We have no solid information, just a feeling that it is different groups by what we are seeing, the characteristics of the crimes,” Hill said.

On a personal note: It may seem obvious, but those of us who work at community weekly newspapers count the passage of time by weeks. Week 1 through 52 each year and then its on to the next volume and Week 1 again. In our case Volume 111, which means of course we will be starting our 111th year here at the Gazette-Tribune.

I bring this up because it is hard to believe that we are at Week 49, you can see it right there at the bottom of the front page, right under the volume number and next to the lovely bar code. Week 49 means that Christmas is just around the corner and there are only three more issues and we start the year all over again. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, I know I did and continue to have more to be thankful for every day.