Stillwater News Press

March 20, 2013

Auto burglary campaign targets seven hot spots in Stillwater

By Russell Hixson
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater police are taking steps to lock out the biggest crime in the city — larcenies from cars.

In April, police will begin efforts to educate the public about keeping their valuables safe, patrolling high risk areas and pursuing aggressive prosecution against suspects.

“Larcenies from automobiles is the biggest crime problem that we have in Stillwater,” McNickle said.

Director of Public Safety Norman McNickle said the city has had significant problems with thieves stealing from cars over the past several years. He was approached by researchers from University of Central Oklahoma to investigate the thefts.

After 18 months of analyzing 1,300 incidents of theft from cars, the researchers were able to identify seven “hot spots” where the majority of the incidents occurred. Researchers found that 90 percent of victims did not lock their car and an average $425 worth of items was stolen.

McNickle said while there are many instances of theft from a vehicle, there are few convictions. He said the cases are often difficult to work as the items stolen are not unique or don’t have serial numbers.

“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” McNickle said.

McNickle said police will be unveiling its “Lock it or Lose it” campaign to educate the public about thefts from vehicles.

He encouraged residents to always lock their cars and to keep valuable items out of plain sight. Those who witness thefts or strange activity are encouraged to contact police.

Officers will also be concentrating on preventing thefts in the hot spots identified by researchers. The police will be working with the district attorney’s office to ensure suspects are vigorously prosecuted, McNickle said.