Traffic & Safety Committee

Shwazooki and Lock It! Rumors have been circulating recently about a series of thefts from unlocked cars and trucks parked in our community. The thieves typically open the vehicle’s unlocked door and take anything of value that might be inside. From the tales being passed around, I estimated that there were probably eight or so victims in our immediate neighborhood alone. I didn’t know if that was true, so I checked with our Police Department and learned that only two such crimes were reported to them from Niguel Shores in the past month.

Thefts from motor vehicles are by far the most frequently occurring crime in all of Dana Point. This sort of crime ratio is similar to the picture developing throughout California. The reason is relatively simple: a plain theft from a car or truck is normally a misdemeanor. This virtually ensures a light sentence if caught and, in fact, lessens the chance the thief is caught, unless the crime occurs in the presence of an officer or someone willing to make a citizen’s arrest. It is not surprising that very few cars are broken into anymore as thieves have found plenty of easier opportunities and less risk with unlocked vehicles.

Our police services personnel have developed a simple message to remind us to take precautions to minimize the potential of falling victim of a car clout. The heading tells it all: Shwazooki (street vernacular or slang for ‘hide it’). The message contained in this one word is, simply, don’t leave enticing loot out for the professional thief or opportunist. “Lock it” in this instance refers to your parked car or truck.

Currently, thieves weigh their options and seldom force entry into a vehicle unless they know there is a good score inside. Last word on this topic, if you fall victim to a car clout, do everyone a favor and report it to the police. The reports ensure we receive our fair share of police resources.

Tailgaters: Signs are posted, but some folks either didn’t read those at the Selva or Cabrillo Gates, or simply lose patience and try their luck and skill at tailgating. I am sure some folks have beat the system by not waiting for the gate arm to complete its cycle of lowering and re-opening, but not many. Recently there has been an almost epidemic number of tires flattened by the spikes at those locations.Virtually always, a subsequent investigation has determined that the gate and spikes were functioning as designed and the cause of the tire damage was by the driver tailgating. Please remind family members and guests about the consequences and cost of tailgating. At the same time remind new service personnel of the location of the gate they can drive through in spite of what GPS tells them. Some of these folks become confused and frustrated at these gates, and try their luck by tailgating. God bless…

—Tim Murphy

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