SANDBRIDGE – It’s that time of year, and vacationers will head for the beach and rentals to enjoy what Joan Davis, the civic league president, has called “our piece of paradise.”
Amid the fun and relaxation, city police are reminding locals and visitors alike that they should keep cars and buildings secure.
“Every spring and summer, we notice an uptick in residential burglaries,” said police Capt. David Squires, commanding officer of the First Precinct, during a meeting in March of the Sandbridge Beach Civic League.
Squires told the civic league members that the point of taking steps is to “reduce the incentive to steal.”
Master Police Officer Bradley Detrich, crime prevention liaison for the First Precinct, discussed tips to help limit opportunities for burglaries, which can rise in tourist months.
“In 2014, we had 30 burglaries,” he said. “Considering there are 800 homes, it doesn’t sound like a lot – unless it’s your stuff. May was when we had seven, the most in 2014, and July had five.”
Detrich said steps such as simply locking doors on homes and automobiles are a start, and he warned against leaving weapons in vehicles. He later added that these and other steps apply outside Sandbridge.
Other tips included breaking down boxes for major purchases, rather than planting a billboard of sorts in plain view.
“Bad guys exist, and this is their job,” he said. “Bad guys shop, and you are the store.”
After a moment, to laughter at what had become a refrain, he added: “Did I mention lock your doors?”
Homeowners can also limit the size of shrubbery to prevent hiding spots, and, in a bit of trickery, buy and make visible a dog dish whether or not a dog exists.
They can also track the serial numbers of items, as well as uploading photos and information to an online property inventory service called ReportIt. It is being used by at least one of the real estate companies that rent in the area, city police said during the meeting at Sandbridge Community Chapel.
Police stressed that burglaries this past year were not some parade of bad guys smashing their way into buildings.
“Most of these 30 were not forced entry,” Detrich said, tapping on his statistics.
As it was often noted – lock your doors.
2015 SANDBRIDGE PROPERTY CRIME
► Jan. 10 – larceny from a residence, 200 block Bluefish Lane
► Jan. 13 – burglary of a residence, 2900 block Sandpiper Road
► Jan. 24 – larceny from a yard, 2400 block Sandfiddler Road
► March 8 – larceny from a residence, 3200 block Sandpiper Road
► March 15 – larceny, 3300 block Sandpiper Road
► March 20 – larceny, 3600 block Sandfiddler Road
► March 26 – larceny from a residence, 3200 block Little Island Road
► April 7 – larceny from a residence, 3000 block Sandfiddler Road
► April 11 – larceny from a motor vehicle, 2500 block Sandbridge Road
Source: City of Virginia Beach