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Miniature crime wave is a sure sign of spring

Forget about the first robin or the budding lilacs. By at least one measure, spring officially arrived in Farmington on April 20.

On that day alone, there were six reports of thefts from cars in Farmington. Add a few car break-ins earlier that week and a handful that have occurred since and it marks the return of a trend police chief Brian Lindquist is used to seeing this time of year.

The reasons are pretty simple, Lindquist said.

“Those who mean ill — those intent on doing wrong — are human too,” he said. “Which means they don’t like to get wet and they don’t like to be cold…. When you are pleased with the weather outside, so are they.”

Most car break-ins are crimes of opportunity, Lindquist said. People are out walking around on a nice night and they try door handles as they go. If the door opens, they’ll see if there’s anything of value that’s easily accessible. If it’s not, they’ll move on.

“They will walk down the street and pull on every door handle until they find an unlocked car, and then they will victimize that car owner,” Lindquist said.

Basically, if it’s nice enough for you to sleep with your windows open, Lindquist said, it’s a good idea to make sure your car doors are locked.

It’s also a good idea to make sure there’s nothing of value visible in your car overnight. It doesn’t take long for a would-be thief to break a car window if he or she knows there’s something worth taking on the other side.

They might take things that are not of obvious value, too. Lindquist said thieves will take a garage door opener and come back later when they can get inside.

“If you leave your keys in the car, they are going to take them because the house key is on there,” Lindquist said. “This won’t be their last trip.”

This kind of crime is often committed by students, and Lindquist said it’s no big deal for them to get around.

“It’s not just in one particular part of town,” Lindquist said. “It’s everywhere. If the kids that are doing it live up on the north end, they’ll make their way to the south end. It’s an easy bike ride. There’s no planning where they’re going to be.”

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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