By Erich Wagner (File photo)
Police are urging residents to secure their belongings and remain on the lookout for suspicious activity after a spate of car break-ins in Del Ray.
Capt. Len Fouch, commander of sector two of the Alexandria Police Department, said the entire region is experiencing a spike in thefts from cars.
In his sector, which includes Del Ray, there have been 75 vehicles broken into during the past 90 days. Nearly 65 percent of the cars targeted by thieves were left unlocked.
“I’m just imploring people to take things out of their vehicles and lock their cars,” Fouch said. “And I know it’s hard in that area, but try to park in a well-lit area.”
Thieves mainly have focused on GPS units and laptops but also have snatched everything from wallets and purses to car and house keys.
“They haven’t taken the cars themselves yet,” Fouch said. “But that’s what really worries me — that they’ll come back [either for the cars or to commit burglaries].”
Fouch is employing a combination of increased enforcement and public outreach to curb the trend of thefts. He is working with officers and community leaders in taking proactive steps to prevent further break-ins.
“Part of it is just public education, having our civic liaison officers talk to all the civic associations about different things,” he said. “[We] beef up our patrols in those areas, as well as doing bike patrols and having officers on foot. We’re encouraging people to pay attention at night, because they know their areas better than we do and know who should be there and who shouldn’t be.
“If you see something or hear something suspicious — or something just doesn’t look right — give us a call and we’ll check it out.”
To avoid becoming a car break-in victim is simple, Fouch said: Lock your car and either remove any valuables or keep them out of sight. And police will survey private homes and vehicles to provide additional tips.
“If anyone wants to do a security survey on their property, it’s a free service we offer,” he said.
The department’s crime prevention specialist, officer Charlie Lloyd, is available for free surveys of homes and businesses by appointment at 703-746-6638.
“He’s really good at it; he’s probably done thousands by now,” Fouch said. “He won’t tell you what product to go buy or anything. It just depends on how much you want to spend versus what you’re spending money to try to protect.”