Throughout the past month of January, the Santa Barbara Police Department received 30 separate auto burglary reports from various parts of Santa Barbara County. While the events took place at different times and locations, the crime scenes resembled one another. Thinking their belongings and cars safe, owners had left items of value-primarily electronics-in plain sight. Some victims even left their vehicle doors unlocked, making items more accessible to outside intruders. Thieves stole the unhidden valuables, mainly iPods, laptop computers, car stereo faceplates, and cameras, but also bags, purses and credit cards. The stolen credit cards were reportedly used immediately after they were taken, as the burglars presumably knew holders would cancel the cards upon realizing their absence. As car thefts are crimes of opportunity, police advise car owners to hide valuables, remove the faceplate of car stereos if possible, lock vehicle doors and report all losses to the police.
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Bianca Licata is an Independent intern.