Profile of a Car Break-In

With double-digit numbers of first degree criminal trespass (or car break-ins) crimes occurring every week throughout Arvada, members of the Arvada Police Department's Crime Analysis Unit offer further analysis of the problem in an effort to increase awareness and to decrease these significant numbers impacting the quality of life for our residents.

By The Numbers

While the first half of the year saw a decrease in the number of car break-ins, the summer of 2010 saw a surge in this crime of opportunity.

2009

January 1 - August 25

461

2010

January 1 - August 25

506

These numbers mark a 10% increase from the same time last year.

In analyzing statistics related to 2010 car break-ins, it appears Thursday thru Saturday nights are the most prevalent days for this crime.

January 1 - August 25 2010

Thursday's 80 car break-ins

Friday's 79 car break-ins

Saturday's 81 car break-ins

As one might imagine, nighttime hours are prime for the crime of first degree criminal trespass. The majority of these incidents occur between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

High Frequency Locations

While first degree criminal trespass incidents have occurred throughout the entire city, a density map (included with this article) shows areas hardest hit by crooks committing this crime.

The top five locations include:

  • Neighborhood north of Memorial Park (the area of the 6000/6100 block of Allison, Balsam and Yarrow)
  • Apple Creek apartments and K-Mark/King Soopers shopping area (approximately the area of the 5800 block of Kipling and east)
  • Castlegate apartments and Lake Arbor green area (approximately 7100/7200 block of W 84 Way)
  • Olde Town area near the motive theater and the big box stores in that location and
  • Aspen Point apartments and Arvada Village (5800/5900 block of Pierce St)

Suspects

While there have been 506 car break-ins reported in 2010, the good news is more than 30 arrests have been made, solving a number of these crimes.

In reviewing information about the 33 car break-in arrestees there are trends to be analyzed:

  • 70% of arrestees are between 13 and 18 years of age and call Arvada home
  • 94% of those arrested are white males
  • 61% of those arrested attend high school

What's Being Stolen

As has been frequently reported, first degree criminal trespass suspects are looking to get their hands on anything of value inside a car. Here's snapshot of items stolen thus far in 2010:

Electronics 317

Tools 167

Identifications 123

Wallets/Purses 103

Credit/Debit Cards 94

Money 89

What's Working

Citizens are heeding the request to report suspicious individuals in their neighborhoods. Several of these calls have resulted in the identification and arrests of suspects and stolen property returned to the rightful owners.

Officers and detectives throughout the entire police department have the crime of car break-ins on their radar. Effective coordination efforts are occurring throughout the entire organization to patrol coverage and investigative work in areas hardest hit by these crimes.

To citizens who lock the doors of their vehicles: Great job! This is the most effective defense in avoiding becoming a victim of this crime. In more than 50% of first degree criminal trespass incidents, suspects entered a car through an unlocked door.

Areas for Improvement

An officer on patrol in the early morning hours noted seeing marks on the door handles of dozens of cars left behind by the moisture caused by dew. It confirmed what has been reported in the past: would-be thieves simply walk down the street in the late night hours and check door handles to see if they can make entry into a car.

Car break-ins are a crime of opportunity which means if you leave items of value in your vehicle and do not lock the doors, there's a possibility you will become a victim of a crime.

Continue to report suspicious people in your neighborhood or in parking lots of shopping areas in the city. As mentioned before, taking a moment to call police to report this information can lead to arrests.

Not only should you avoid leaving iPods and cell phones in your car, but also remove chargers and docking stations related to these electronics. Someone who sees these wires in your car may assume there are electronics stowed in the center console or glove box. By taking an extra moment to remove items of value from your car and locking the doors can prevent a crime from occurring in the first place.

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