■ By Dennis Fletcher / Contributed
Police and sheriff units in the San Jacinto Valley are on increased alert due to a recent rash of thievery that has invaded senior parks along the northern edge of San Jacinto. Many of the crimes being committed in these parks within both Hemet and San Jacinto have been classified as petty thefts. But they are anything but petty to the seniors who experience them.
This includes a variety of crimes of opportunity: stealing from unlocked sheds, carports, porches and front/back yards, and break-ins. Break-ins have mostly occurred when the structure (usually a manufactured home) is unoccupied. Police have noted that these crimes are more prevalent on properties that are not well-lit or do not employ motion-sensitive flood lights or alarm systems or security cameras.
Here’s what you can do if you see a person or vehicle you think does not belong in your park:
• Contact the authorities, either the Hemet Police, San Jacinto Police, or the Riverside County Sheriff.
• Get a good visual description of the individual or vehicle, or a photo, and note the direction they were headed if they leave.
• Warning: do not confront prowlers yourself. They could be armed and dangerous. Let the authorities handle that part.
Here are some good security practices that you can implement in and around your home:
• Keep numbers for the local police and fire and ambulance near your phone.
• Call the Hemet Police (951) 765-2400 or the Riverside County Sheriff (951) 231-0199 if you see something suspicious.
• Lock your home and car doors at all times.
• Keep your windows shut and curtains drawn at night.
• Add sticks or track locks to your home windows.
• Use a locking steering wheel bar on all parked cars.
• Use motion detector lights and security cameras around your home perimeter.
• Consider adopting a guard or watch dog.
• Tell your neighbors if you are going to be out of town and keep a watchful eye on each of your neighbors’ homes.
• Your address or mobile home space number should be visible at night by the police and emergency vehicles.
• Use this link to report any drug sellers or other crime in your park: https://www.riversidesheriff.org/crimetips/
Remember if you see something, you should say something and report it.