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Farmington police recommend vigilance as weather gets warmer

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." And as the warmer spring weather finally gets under way around Farmington, local police are urging residents to start thinking along those same lines.

Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist and his staff are getting ready for the increased number of calls regarding theft of personal property that always seems to come as the days get longer and warmer. Lindquist is also appealing to residents to think about what they can do to prevent break-ins to their cars, garages and homes.

"No one is excited to be outside when the weather is cold, but when the weather starts to improve, we typically see a rise in these crimes of opportunity," Lindquist said.

The police department typically sees a sharp increase in the number of reports of thefts and burglaries in the early spring months. That's because both homeowners and criminals are outside more often. Homeowners may forget to lock a car door or close a garage door, and the people out to steal money or belongings are looking for those kinds of opportunities.

The culprits are usually teenagers or young adults, and they're usually out on foot, walking around neighborhoods after dark. They'll pull on a car door handle just to see if it's unlocked. If it is, there's a good chance they'll go into the car to dig around. The same applies when they see open garage doors, Lindquist said. And since they're not afraid to go into garages, he discourages residents from leaving their keys in vehicles. Doing so could provide the criminals a chance to come back and enter a house later.

"When vehicles and garage are left open and unattended, it's very easy for someone up to no good to come by and open up the car door and take whatever they can find inside," Lindquist said. "You can't leave anything in plain sight. You can't leave coins in the center console, you can't leave a laptop bag on the front seat. Leave nothing in your car, and if your car is parked outside, by all means lock it, and try to park it in your driveway."

Lindquist encourages residents to get in the habit of double-checking to make sure doors are locked and the garage door is closed. He also suggests installing motion sensor lights.

Police officers will also be looking for those open garage doors, Lindquist said.

"We've done this in the past. If we're driving around at night and see a garage door open, there's a distinct possibility we'll ring your doorbell and try to get you up to close that garage door. We will make an attempt to notify you because a little prevention can go a long way," he said.

Finally, he asks that if a home or car is broken into, that the residents file a report with the police department, no matter how insignificant the loss is.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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