Police offer tips as thefts increase in northern Durham

Oct. 02, 2013 @ 03:48 PM

Thefts in northern Durham have increased recently, and police are offering tips to help residents avoid being victimized.

According to figures released Wednesday by the Durham Police Department, larceny-thefts (excluding vehicles) shot up 42.5 percent in District 2 (northern Durham) between August and September – from 127 to 181. 

An increasing number of people are having cellphones snatched from them in public, Lt. M.K. Bond of the Durham Police Department warned in an email to Partners Against Crime (PAC).

“If you are out in public, make sure you know who is around you,” Bond said. “Some criminals will walk by, grab your phone and run. Pay attention!”

When shopping or “seeing the sights,” Bond said, keep belongings under close watch and never out of reach.

“Ladies, this includes your purse in a shopping cart while grabbing something a short distance away,” Bond said. “Also, carry your purse firmly and close to your body or leave it at home, and only carry what you need in your pocket.”

Suggestions for men: Keep wallets in a coat pocket or side trouser pocket.

“Walk with a purpose and know your surroundings,” Bond said. “Show you are calm, confident, and have a purpose. Go with your gut feeling. If you feel uncomfortable, leave.”

Other tips:

- Shop or walk with a friend, pet or coworker. There is strength in numbers.

- Protect your electronics with a password. Pawn shops won’t take password-protected items when the person who has it doesn’t know the password, Bond said.

- Know the serial number for your valuables, along with make and model. Law enforcement can enter this into a national data base, and it will be flagged if stolen.

- Keep valuables out of sight in your vehicle if you must take them.

- Lock car doors, roll up windows and park in a well-lit and populated area.

- Never leave your GPS, wallet or laptop computer in your car.

- If you have tracking software such as LoJack, Locked and Found or Find My iPhone, know how to access and track it. Bond said this can help police find your stolen property.