DRAPER, Utah – The Draper Police Department has started a victim prevention program after seeing a rise in home and car burglaries in the city.
They said residents are more vulnerable to theft because many think they live in a safe community and leave their homes open during the daytime.
“I think we just don’t realize we’re a target,” said Draper resident Wendy Clark.
“I think we feel like we’re sort of immune to break-ins, and so I think we get a little slipshod about taking care of our property,” said Draper resident Gary Klumker.
The Draper Police Department reports there have been 109 residential burglaries and 239 vehicle burglaries in Draper in the past year.
“Seventy-six percent of the residential burglaries, the suspect did not use any force to enter the residence or garage,” said Draper Police Chief Bryan Roberts. “The same is true in 60 percent of the vehicle burglaries.”
Roberts said burglaries can be prevented if people take the appropriate measures to secure their homes.
“We are asking for Draper residents to inoculate themselves from ‘victimitis,’” he said. “Common symptoms include, One: good trusting citizens and a, quote: ‘that happens to other people not me,’ syndrome.”
Klumker said he has noticed thieves targeting their neighborhood because of the wealthier residents and the relaxed attitudes.
“The mindset is that most of the crime occurs west of us and not here, not on the east side” he said.
Draper police are offering tips for how residents can better protect themselves.
"One, always close and lock your garage doors; two, always lock your car doors; and three, remove your valuables from your car,” Roberts said.
Debi D’Amico, a Crime Specialist with Draper City, said the most common times for burglaries are in the summertime and during the holidays.
“That’s when people are getting valuables either delivered to their home and they’re being left on the porch, or they’re leaving valuables in their car and people are breaking in or simply opening the doors if their cars aren’t locked and snatching those items,” she said.
The Draper Police Department is handing out brochures the next few months to warn residents about the spike in burglaries and to give them tips on how they can better protect their homes.
D’Amico mentioned a sure way for residents to protect their property is owning a dog. She said they interviewed burglars who say when a dog barks, thieves are easily scared off.
She also mentioned sleeping with your car alarm remote nearby, so you can easily activate it if you hear someone breaking into your home. She also said people can join a Neighborhood Watch Group to keep an eye on each other’s homes and be more aware of what’s going on in their communities.