Seven vehicle burglaries were reported to police this week. Adding these most recent crimes to the 15 or more reported in recent weeks shows an alarming upward trend in this crime category, particularly at this time of the year.
We usually see upward spikes in vehicle burglaries and other thefts during the summer months when schools are in recess.
In two of the seven reported vehicle burglaries, small, portable electronic devices were stolen, along with purses. Would I leave my wallet in my vehicle unattended? Absolutely not. I know from experience that to do so is an invitation to a criminal, even an inexperienced one, particularly if the doors of my vehicle are unlocked and my wallet is left in plain view. Remember, in addition to the loss of your money, important documents such as a driver’s license and ID and credit cards also now fall into the hands of the thief.
In the other reported burglaries, GPS units, cell phones, an iPod and device chargers were stolen. All of these items are small, portable and easily taken by a thief. Additionally, the items are easily converted to another’s use or to money to be used for other purposes. Far too often, the purpose of these burglaries is to acquire items of value to be subsequently sold or traded for money to purchase illegal substances.
As it seems to be with many crimes against property (burglaries, thefts and criminal mischief), the owners of targeted property are victimized before preventive measures are considered and taken seriously. Usually, only after falling victim to a vehicle or residential burglary do owners of stolen property take preventive measures to deter future crimes against them.
They do this by removing items of value from their vehicle when it is unattended and by locking doors and storage compartments. It is the age-old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
We are continuing to see instances of cyber crimes here in Copperas Cove. These include online solicitation of a minor. In these cases, an adult knowingly solicits a minor online to engage in some activity that is, by statute, illegal. Usually, it is the solicitation of a sexual act. Fortunately, these crimes are frequently detected before any physical harm is done, and they are appropriately prosecuted with severe consequences. In this age of communications technology and availability, this category of crime is destined to climb without the involvement of parents and guardians taking preventive measures.
Along these lines, Copperas Cove police filed charges against a Copperas Cove resident for sexual assault of a minor. An arraignment on the charge ensued. The Texas Attorney General opined some years ago that a person under legal age cannot give consent to engage in sex with an adult, making such act a crime of sexual assault by the adult, regardless of whether the act was consensual.
Lastly, Copperas Cove police made another arrest for possession of a controlled substance. Every arrest takes a little more of the poison off the streets of our city. However, the criminals making and selling the junk continue to flourish. Community involvement is the only answer to this community problem. Anyone having knowledge of people producing, selling or possessing illegal substances does the community and their neighbors an enormous service by reporting such activity to the proper authorities.
Anyone having information about any of these crimes is urged to contact the Copperas Cove Police department. It is your community. Make it safe and healthy for yourselves and your families.
John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement and a Copperas Cove resident.