Tag Archives: car thefts

Roundup: Affordable Housing; Car Thefts, Traffic, Tax …

The Planning and Zoning Commission adopted a 5-year affordable housing plan last night. The bipartisan vote was 5-0, with 2 abstentions.

Highlights include:

Creating a new affordable community designed specifically for families.

• The formation of a town-funded Affordable Housing Trust Fund to direct resources towards future development of affordable housing.

• The immediate development of location specific plans for town-owned land to meaningfully expand and/or renovate existing rental housing/structures to create affordable housing, and potentially partner with nonprofits engaged in this work.

• Allocation of the approximately $1,700,000 in the town’s Real Property Fund to acquire land for future development of affordable housing.

• The deed restriction of existing town-owned rental properties so that they are affordable and remain affordable to renters.

• The adoption of a new zoning district at Powell Place to ensure that existing deeply affordable housing (40% State Median Income or less) can be more intensively redeveloped with flexible parking requirements reflecting the availability of public lots nearby.

There is much more in the 5-year plan. Click here for a full “06880” report.

Part of the 5-year affordable housing plan envisions a “model pocket neighborhood/cottage commons” design. (Courtesy of Ross Chapin AIA)

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You’d think by now everyone would have gotten the message.

Nope. Here’s the latest Groundhog Day news from the Westport Police Department:

On Saturday, several cars were broken into. All were unlocked. Go figure.

This often happens at night. However, these crimes occurred in late afternoon and early evening.

The WPD once again reminds Westporters to lock your cars and bring your keys or fobs inside. And never leave valuables — cash purses, wallets, electronics — in your car.

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The Police Department also offers this advice, for the June 30th fireworks:

Spectators should arrive early. Traffic delays are inevitable.

Compo Beach closes at 4 p.m. Only vehicles with fireworks passes can remain.  Parks & Recreation staff will collect passes. The beach should reopen to ticket holders by 5 p.m.

Vehicles with tickets can access the beach through South Compo Road only. Hillspoint Road south of Greens Farms Road will be open to residents who live south of that intersection.

Firework attendees should display their ticket prominently on the dashboard. It will be collected at the parking gate.

All ticket holders must be inside Compo Beach by 9 p.m.  No beach traffic will be allowed south of the Minute Man monument after that time.

Vehicles without tickets will not be allowed any further toward Compo Beach than the Minute Man.

Uber, Lyft or taxi users will be directed straight past the Minute Man, on Compo Road South. They can be dropped off at Soundview Drive. Return service will not be available until after 11 p.m., due to 1-way traffic leaving the beach.

When the fireworks end, there will be 2 lanes of 1-way traffic only on Compo Beach Road and South Compo, to the intersection of Greens Farms Road. Residents of that area returning from elsewhere should expect a delay of 1 hour or so.

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The fun doesn’t end with the fireworks. On Saturday, July 9, Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns. There’s a new location — Jesup Green — but the same family fun.

The day begins with a 10 a.m. Fun Fair in the Westport Library parking lot. Activities include a Nerdy Derby, face painting and bubble machines.

At 1 p.m. on Jesup Green, 3,000 plastic ducks will slide down a 160-foot sluice course. Each wears a number, matching a $20 raffle ticket. The first 10 ducks down the course win money for their ticket holders. First place is $5,000. Second place wins $1,000. The next 8 finishers get $500 each.

The event is a major Sunrise Rotary fundraiser. Proceeds support charitable endeavors in this area, the state and around the world.

Click here for tickets, and to learn more about Sunrise Rotary. 

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When Dick Lowenstein received his 2022-23 tax bill yesterday, he was surprised to see that the gross assessment had risen on his 2 vehicles. The dollar amounts were not huge, but the percentages were: 29% higher for his 2002 Lexus, 11% for his 2014 Honda CRV.

He called tax assessor Paul Friia. The immediate response: Gross assessment is based on standard information provided to the assessor. “Presumably, because of supply shortages, new car production has been delayed. Many people are instead buying used cars, which has driven up their value,” Dick reports.

I wonder what this Maserati will be assessed at next year. (Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

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Yesterday’s rain postponed the Remarkable Theater showing of “Caddyshack.” The new date is Monday, July 11 (8:30 p.m.; gates open at 7:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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Our “Westport … Naturally” feature is open to everyone. We run photos of anything “natural” in town: animals, birds, flowers, trees — you name it. If it lives, we want to showcase it.

We are especially interested in images from young readers. Today we welcome 15-year-old Benji Porosoff, who captured this scene:

(Photo/Benji Porosoff)

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And finally … on this day in 1969, the Stonewall riots began in New York. The uprising — sparked by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar — is considered the start of the LGBTQ rights movement.

Ten years later, Diana Ross commissioned Chic founder (and current Westporter) Nile Rodgers to create material for her new album. One song was inspired after he saw drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a New York club. It is now considered an anthem of the LGBTQ community.

(“06880” is supported solely by readers. Please click here to contribute.)

Roundup: Mindful Drinking, Car Thefts, Olympics …

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It’s no secret that alcohol consumption has soared during the pandemic.

What is a secret is that few people have talked about it.

Westport Together — the town’s health and wellness alliance — wants that to change.

On February 17 (7 p.m., Zoom), they’re sponsoring an online roundtable discussion. “Mindful Drinking: Reimagining Our Alcohol Habits & How They Impact Our Relationships” includes local residents talking about the role of alcohol in Westport culture, and its impact on ourselves and friends.

Click here for more information, and to register.

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Yesterday morning at 7:40, a car was stolen from the Playhouse Square parking lot. It was soon involved in an accident near the office building across from Fire Department headquarters, though the car thief escaped.

Around the same time, a wallet was stolen from a vehicle parked near Trader Joe’s.

In both cases, the cars were unlocked. The vehicle that was stolen had the key fob inside.

These incidents are astonishingly common in Westport. For a town that prides itself on its schools, the simple lesson of “lock your vehicle — and take the fob with you!” seems to take waaaaay too long to sink in.

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Calling all Olympics fans — especially those who follow Westport’s own Julia Marino:

The silver medalist snowboarder has one event left: big air.

Qualifiers are set for this Sunday (February 13), 8:30 p.m. EST, on NBC or USA. However, that may be pushed back to Monday morning at 12:30 a.m., due to Super Bowl coverage.

The big air finals are Monday (February 14), 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

Go for the gold, Julia! (Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)

NBC’s split screen last weekend showed Julia Marino in China, and the Marino family and friends in Westport. (Screenshot/Jeanine Esposito)

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For over 75 years, “Soundings” and “QED” have published Staples High School students’ prose, poetry, artwork, photography and more.

The publications have won many awards — including most recently 1st place in the American Scholastic Press Association’s national contest. The publications show off our town’s teenage talent, and inspire countless students to find careers in the literary and visual arts.

For the past couple of years — for reasons both economic (budgets) and medical (COVID) — the magazines have been digital only.

Yet editors and readers know there is something special — still — about print.

To publish on paper, they need money. It’s not a lot — just $3,000 — but they’ve asking for help. Via GoFundMe.

Click here to contribute. And if you need a few dozens reasons why this is important, click here for “Soundings”‘ website.

Make sure you’ve got time, though. Those 7 decades of archives won’t read themselves.

A page from the 1983 “Soundings.”

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It’s a lone little tree, stuck in a tiny park with no name on the windy walkway from Old Mill Beach to Compo Cove.

But it’s proud. And these days, the mini-tree is sprouting a special Valentine’s Day heart (and garlands).

Love is truly where you find it.

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

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George Billis Gallery hosts an opening reception tomorrow (Saturday, February 12, 4:30 to 6 p.m.) for its new show. Adam Noel and Karen Recor are the featured artists, at the Main Street space.

Adam Noel, in his studio.

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Gregg Tenser writes: “Some mornings, I found my bird feeder on the ground. I wondered: Did we have a bear?

“Apparently not. Tonight i busted the culprit.”

And there it is — in all its “Westport … Naturally” glory.

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And finally … happy 60th birthday, Sheryl Crow!

Roundup: Auto Thefts, Christian Siriano, Kids Are Talking …

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A rash of auto thefts has rattled Westport.

Yesterday, the Police Department said it’s joining law enforcement agencies from Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Monroe and Newtown in a regional motor vehicle theft task force.  They’ll develop a comprehensive effort to deter auto theft and arrest those responsible.

Police Chief Foti Koskinas says that by “sharing resources and information with other communities that are also experiencing a large number of motor vehicle thefts, our ability to solve these crimes increases exponentially. While the theft of cars may seem like a youthful indiscretion to some, it is important to keep in mind that these stolen vehicles are often used in the commission of very serious crimes such as robberies and shootings.”

In almost every case, stolen vehicles are unlocked with the keys or key fob inside.  So even with the task force and extra officers on patrol, Westport Police urge (again and again): Keep your f—ing cars locked! (Expletive is mine.)

Please steal my car!

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Since moving to Westport, Christian Siriano has kept a relatively low profile.

But last night, the world got a glimpse of his digs.

MTV Cribs featured the world renowned fashion designer. A few days earlier, People magazine previewed the show.

They noted that his bedroom is “definitely bigger” than his New York apartment.

“The spacious room, which is decorated in neutral tones, features a large set of wide glass doors opening to a deck that overlooks the Project Runway alum’s sprawling yard,” People wrote.

Siriano said: “What I love about it is that you wake up every single morning to crazy, natural sunlight every day. We have no curtains, which is kind of wild. You have to be very comfortable being naked. Luckily there’s no neighbors around.”

(Click here for the full People story. Hat tip: Tracy Porosoff)

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What do Senator Elizabeth Warren, Fannie Mae chair Sheila Bair and Westonite Amy Weisman have in common?

All were just named to Forbes’ “50 Over 50” in finance list. They’re “shaping the future of finance, fueling high-growth businesses and forging a more innovative and inclusive financial future.”

In 2017, Weisman — then 53 years old, and managing director of business development for Sterling Investment Partners — co-founded Exponent Women, a membership network for senior women in private equity. After 30 years working in finance (while caring for her children and parents), she wanted to do more to support female dealmakers.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal named Weisman one of “10 Women to Watch in Private Equity.” She began her career as an analyst at Smith Barney.

Click here for the full Forbes list.

Amy Weisman

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Westport psychologist Dr. Don Cohen’s upcoming livestream focuses on an important topic. Titled “Kids Are Talking: Antisemitism — What Jewish Teens Want You to Know,” it’s set for September 23 (7 p.m.), in partnership with the ADL.

The new livestream format on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube has previously covered topics including body image, modern gender and sexuality; drug
use and abuse; romantic and sexual relationships; social misinformation, and mental health challenges.

Videos are found at http://kidsaretalking.live, youtube.com/kidsaretalking, facebook.com/kidsaretalking, and twitch.tv/kidsaretalking.

A retro poster.

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Attention “left-leaning, like-minded political activists”: ReSisters & Misters) is meeting Sunday (September 19, 1 p.m.) for painting, postcarding, Afghan refugee action, socializing and more. Contact msheinus@yahoo.com for information.

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Speaking of politics: A rally for women’s reproductive rights is set for October 2 (1 p.m., Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge). Click here for more information.

A rally earlier this month on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge featured signs like these.

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Heartlent — the local social strategy and creative content agency — just celebrated its 1st anniversary.

Among the highlights, they:

  • Created unique concept and content for Clemson Football’s social feeds celebrating their first ever #1 Overall NFL Draft Pick, Trevor Lawrence
  • Won 11 awards with their Rock the Vote “Hoopers Vote” campaign
  • Worked with Denver Nuggets sponsor Western Union to create unique content celebrating star center Nikola Jokic’s MVP honors
  • Created the opening day #MLSisBack graphic
  • Supported Joe Biden’s Presidential Campaign with creative, digital and social assets
  • Designed the shirt worn by New York Knick Immanuel Quickley at Madison Square Garden
  • Launched “Remotely Renee”, where Atlanta Dreams co-owner Renee Montgomery announced her retirement from the WNBA
  • Partnered with Opendorse to provide social strategy and content for student athletes and universities in advance of NIL (name, image, likeness).

That’s quite a list for one year. Congratulations to managing partner (and Westporter) Elliot Gerard, and all!

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“06880” has featured Gloria — the late Alan Sterling’s weather-beaten oyster boat — often. But today marks its first appearance as a “Westport … Naturally” feature. It sits in Gray’s Creek, deteriorating but surrounded by plenty of life.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

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And finally … today is my sister Laurie’s birthday. She shares a name with the title of one of the creepiest songs ever recorded.

The dead-teen genre was (ahem) alive and well in the 1950s and ’60s. Who can forget “Teen Angel,” “Tell Laura I Love Her,” “Last Kiss” or “Leader of the Pack”?

But for sheer, sad weirdness, nothing beats Dickey Lee’s tear-jerker.

Roundup: Car Thefts, Downtown, Melissa Bernstein …

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Lock your cars doors! Even — especially — in your driveway!

That’s the advice (it should be a command) from the Westport Police Department.

Four vehicles have been stolen here since Saturday. All 4 times, the doors were unlocked — and the keys were left in the cars.

Police have also responded to 15 vehicle break-ins in the past 6 days. Items were stolen from all cars — and again, the doors were unlocked.

The department reminds residents to lock all cars, and bring keys inside. Take valuables out of your car for the night too — cash, purses, wallets and electronics. It’s a good idea too to keep outside lights on, and motion lights activated.

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“Westport Downtown Merchants Association” was always a mouthful.

So chew on this: The organization has a new name.

From now on, it’s the “Westport Downtown Association.”

Sleeker. More inclusive. And it does not sound like it’s a radio station (WDMA).

But, the WDA says, they’ll still enhance the downtown experience for shoppers, diners and other visitors.

And they’ll still work with business owners, landlords — and merchants! — to improve the commerce and culture of downtown Westport.

Their website is http://www.westportdowntown.com. As easy to remember as it is to shop and dine.

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Since going public about her battle with existential anguish and depression, Melissa Bernstein has been interviewed by every major American media outlet.

Tonight (Thursday, May 6) she talks to a different audience: her neighbors.

Former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor Dave Briggs — also a Westporter — interviews the Melissa & Doug toy company co-founder today, on Instagram Live.

Melissa will talk about her life, and LifeLines: the project she and her husband Doug have created, to educate and empower people. The conversation is particularly apt now; May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

It’s available tonight at 8 p.m. on Instagram Live (@Westport Magazine). You can ask questions during the segment, or send them now: DM @DaveBriggsTV.

Melissa Bernstein

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Anne Craig no longer reports the news for Fox 5 New York and Channel 8 New Haven. She’s concentrating on her family, here in Westport.

But she continues to make must-see videos. (Remember this one on the yarn bomber?)

Now — right before Mother’s Day — she turns her camera on another inspiring local mom.

Rosie Jon is an outstanding artist who overcame what could be a major obstacle: She was born without arms.

Rosie is upbeat, optimistic, and very talented. Click below to enjoy Anne’s great tribute:

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Neighbors and Newcomers of Westport is one of the town’s great — and greatly unknown — organizations.

Far from a “welcome wagon” — longtime residents are as welcome as recent arrivals — it’s a fun, active group. Members enjoy clam bakes, coffees, holiday parties, kayaking, barbecues, happy hours, wine tastings and TGIF get-togethers.

They play canasta. They go hiking and to movies. There is a book club, culinary group and luncheon club. There are trips to museums, baby and toddler play groups, and girls’ nights out.

Well, they did all that before COVID. The pandemic forced every activity onto Zoom, or hiatus.

But as Westport opens up, the group is returning to in-person events. “With the energy of spring in the air, we are trying our best to serve our community,” they say. “We will of course continue to follow town guidelines in all activities.”

The first monthly event is tomorrow (Friday, May 7, noon): lunch outdoors at Arezzo.

In the works: Book Club (May 27, 7 p.m.), kayaking, and free Pure Barre classes for members.

Click here to learn more. Click here for the Facebook page; For membership information, email membershipnnwestport@gmail.com. For other questions, email presidentnnwestport@gmail.com.

Neighbors & Newcomers enjoy a hike.

 

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Calling all young artists!

Westport Public Art Collections seeks submissions from K-12 students for the 2021-22 school calendar. That’s the one that hangs in every kitchen. It lists all school events — and is decorated handsomely with student art.

Drawings, paintings, photos and computer-generated graphics will be considered (landscape orientation, please).

Artwork scanned at high res (600 dpi — JPG or PDF format file) or a good photo can be mailed to WestportSchoolCalendar@gmail.com. Include the student’s name, email, school and grade. Keep the original art, in case a re-scan is needed.

The deadline is May 28. Click here for more details, and to preorder a calendar.

The cover of the 2020-21 Westport Public Schools calendar was drawn by Sophia Sheng, Coleytown Elementary School 5th grader.

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Bedford Middle School 8th grader Ryan Tzou learned yesterday he was a winner in the Women’s History Month essay contest.

He found out in a great way: State Representative Stephanie Thomas surprised him during social studies class.

“Ryan told the triumphant story of his grandmother, a Chinese immigrant who experienced countless obstacles in her life that she never let hinder her dreams and goals,” Thomas said. “Ryan’s love and admiration for his grandmother poured through the carefully constructed words in his essay, which made it both inspirational and heart-warming to read.”

Ryan Tzou with State Representative Stephanie Thomas (left) and Bedford Middle School social studies teacher Gabrielle Tripuzzi. He holds a citation for his essay.

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The other day, “06880” reported on Staples High 9th grader Cameron Mann’s current gig: He’s part of HBO Max’s “Mare of Easttown” cast.

Three years ago he was part of a 2018 workshop: “The Secret Garden.” Presented for top Broadway professionals and theatre owners, it was directed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, and starred notable actors.

The production is being streamed tonight (Thursday, May 6), and will be available on demand May 7-9. Proceeds go to the Dramatists Guild Foundation and The Actors Fund. Click here for details.

Cameron Mann

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Two photos. Call them “Beauty and the Beast”?

First: Spring colors continue to dazzle Westport:

(Photo/Rowene Weems Photography)

Next: Fertilization project underway at Compo Beach:

(Photo/Les Dinkin)

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And finally … on this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first human being to run a mile in under 4 minutes (3:59.4).

At least 2 Westport runners (Steve Wheeler and Henry Wynne) have beaten Bannister’s record.

The current world record is 3:43.13, by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco. Who knew?!

 

 

 

Police: Property Crimes On The Rise

The Westport Police Department says;

As the COVID-19 quarantines and associated restrictions have gradually eased in Connecticut, you may have noticed an increase in daily vehicular traffic throughout Fairfield County.

Unfortunately, traffic is not all that seems to be on the rise. What has been the most striking to the Westport Police Department is a marked increase in property crimes.

Comparing an approximately 40-day period from late May to early July in 2019 and 2020, statistics indicate an upward trend.

Within this period in 2019, the department investigated 3 stolen motor vehicle complaints. In 2020 we have investigated a total of 10 within the same time period, while an 11th stolen vehicle from another jurisdiction was recovered here.

In every case, the stolen vehicle was left unlocked with keys inside overnight. Some of these vehicles were recovered in other jurisdictions, but many remain unaccounted for.

Almost always closely tied to motor vehicle thefts are burglaries of parked and unoccupied vehicles in driveways.

In the specified time frame in 2019, the department handled 5 incidents of motor vehicles being entered/burglarized. In 2020 we handled 11 of these types of incidents in that same time frame.

In all recent cases, the vehicles were left unlocked. In multiple cases, wallets containing credit cards were stolen and subsequently used to make  purchases.  The actual numbers of these types of incidents are assumed to be higher than as reported, as many residents do not notify police in situations where vehicles were entered but nothing of any significant value appears to have been taken.

In this sample period in 2019, the department investigated 3 burglary complaints (2 commercial, 1 residentail).  In this same stretch of time in 2020 we have investigated 6 residential burglaries, 4 of which included forced entry.  The most brazen was perpetrated in the overnight hours while the home was occupied and the residents asleep. Entry was gained through an unlocked door.

Footage from a Nest camera last weekend shows a burglar casing out an an Old Hill area home.

In 2019, the department responded to 1 shoplifting incident within this timeframe. In the same period in 2020, we have responded to 8 such complaints.

Please let this data serve as a stark reminder that property crimes and theft seem to be trending upward in Westport.  Again, this is a small sample in time of slightly more than a month, but it merits careful attention.

Measures are being taken by the department to stop or slow this trend.  Preventative measures such as locking doors, arming alarms and securing valuables, coupled with the vigilance of our officers, is the key to safeguarding our neighborhoods.

If you observe suspicious activity in your neighborhood, please don’t delay in contacting us. Maintaining public safety and security is only possible through a continued partnership with the residents we proudly serve.

No one knows your neighborhood better than you do. The information and feedback provided by our community is vital to our crime prevention efforts and overall effectiveness as a law enforcement agency.

Westporters Enable Car Thieves

The Westport Police Department wants to make life hard for car thieves.

Unfortunately, too many residents make it too easy. 

The WPD says:

Early this morning, 2 vehicles were stolen from the Hillspoint Road area. Two others were broken into. Credit cards stolen from one vehicle were later used in Stratford.

All vehicles were believed to have been unlocked, with keys left inside the vehicles.

Another vehicle was stolen over the weekend. It was also unsecured, with the keys left inside. All incidents are being investigated by the detective bureau.

Please steal my car!

Despite multiple warnings over the last few years, residents continue to leave valuables and keys in their unlocked vehicles. As long as residents do not heed these warnings, thieves will continue to target our area.

We ask everyone to remove valuables from their vehicles, take their keys with them, and lock their car doors every time — whether holiday shopping downtown, parked at the gym, at the dog park or in their own driveways.

Residents are urged to participate in the “9 PM Routine.” This national public service campaign is a simple, effective way to prevent theft. It includes removing valuables from vehicles, locking car doors and bringing keys inside.

Take a few extra moments during your nightly routine to make sure the doors to your home are locked, your garage doors are secure, and exterior lights are turned on.

Help us prevent burglaries and theft in our community, and protect your home and property. For more information on the 9 PM Routine, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.