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Friday, March 31, 2023

Focus on Safety – Crimes of opportunity


Did you know that there are two types of criminals? Predatory criminals and criminals who are opportunists.

A predatory criminal targets a specific individual, seeking them out because that person has something specific that they want. It could be a well-planned out bank robbery or a stalker watching a person before victimizing them. Just like in the wild, a predator. Thankfully, predators are rare.

What are not rare are opportunistic criminals. In 2021, there were 145 reported burglaries to motor vehicle incidents. 80% of those were no force entries, meaning the burglarized vehicle was NOT locked. This is an example of a “crime of opportunity.” One tried-and-true way to combat such crimes is the focus of this month’s Safer Naper campaign.

Crimes of opportunity occur when the perpetrator takes advantage of a particular situation, generally with no advance plans to go out and commit an illegal act. They see a chance to commit a crime and take it. While no one can stop someone who is absolutely determined to steal your property; why make it easy for a criminal to commit a crime? By being proactive, you can protect yourself, your family and your property. You can become a “harder target,” taking steps to not to be a victim. This includes the following tips:

Lock your vehicle and don’t leave anything out in the open. Not even small change or an empty bag. What you consider nothing of value might be someone else’s treasure.
Don’t try and be sneaky by hiding your purse or wallet under the seat or a blanket. These are some of the first places thieves look.

Lock your vehicle, even in your driveway or garage. Take your keys with you when you leave your vehicle. In 2021, there were 57 motor vehicle thefts, 83% of which were not taken by force, meaning the keys were left inside the vehicle.

For your home, whether you are doing yardwork in the back yard or quickly running an errand, close the garage doors and lock all doors and windows. Remember to keep those exterior lights on from dusk until dawn.

We all can get complacent from time to time, but don’t let bad habits make you an easy target for crime.

For more crime prevention tips and strategies for securing your home, vehicle, bicycle, or locker please visit www.naperville.il.us/ASaferNaper.

Julie Smith
Julie Smith
Julie Smith is Crime Prevention Specialist at the Naperville Police Department. Contact her at SmithJu@naperville.il.us or (630) 305-5450.