FALLBROOK–The Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation will hold a community meeting today regarding a string of car burglaries in the area.

Since November 2013, there have been 116 car burglaries reported in Fallbrook. A majority (70%) of the thefts involved unlocked cars. The rest (30%) involved break-ins ranging from windows being smashed to doors/windows being forced open.

Most of the car burglaries happened between 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. along South Mission Road, Alturas Road, Ammunition Road, South Main Avenue and West Beech Street.

Purses, wallets, bags, cell phones, credit cards, IDs, Social Security cards are the most common items taken during the car burglaries. The cards or IDs are then used following the burglaries further exposing the victims to identity theft. The loss in the past six months is estimated at $122,000.

Four cases stand out because they all could have been prevented. A professional photographer who left her car door unlocked while at a local drug store during the day lost more than $3,000 in camera equipment. In another case, $16,000 worth of hang gliding and paragliding equipment were also stolen from an unlocked car parked inside an open garage.

A third case involves a parked car in a driveway. The car was locked, but bags, a purse, laptop, IPad and $3,000 in cash were left in plain view. Another case involves ten checks stolen from an unlocked car increasing the risk of identity theft for people who wrote the checks.

The meeting begins at 3 p.m., and will be held at the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation, 388 E. Alvarado Street in Fallbrook.

Car burglary is one crime you can really help us prevent. All car burglaries have one thing in common: something to steal. Car burglaries are “crimes of opportunity.” You can stay away from the radar of car burglars by following these simple steps:

  • Lock all your doors even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time. CLOSE all your windows, no matter the weather.
  •  Never leave your car running, even to dash in a store or if you forgot something at home.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car. If you leave valuable items visible in your car, your car is automatically a target.
  • If you must leave valuable items in your car while out and about, place items out of sight before reaching your destination. Someone may be watching you as you hide your valuables.
  • Leave no trace. Don’t leave any sign there might be valuables in your car such as docking stations, cell phone chargers, connector cables, spare change, clothing (a car thief might think there is something valuable in the pockets), etc.  Never leave keys in the ignition or in the car.
  • Thieves know the best places to hide keys.
  • If you have an after-market stereo with a face plate, remove it. Without the face plate, the unit can’t be pulled out and it will be harder to fence.
  • Park in busy, well-lit and well-travelled areas. Thieves don’t want any attention and choose their targets accordingly.  Use your car alarm.
  • Mark your valuables. Recording serial numbers will help with an insurance claim and the investigation if your items are taken to a pawn shop.
  • Report suspicious activity by calling the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200.

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