LAKE BLUFF – Lake Bluff has experienced a 50% increase in stolen and burglarized vehicles in the past year, and the police department – like police agencies up and down the North Shore – are imploring residents to lock the doors to their cars, garages and homes.
“I feel confident we could significantly end this crime trend simply by locked cars,” said Lake Bluff Police Chief David Belmonte.
In every incident throughout this time period in the village, vehicles had been left unlocked and/or the keys left in the car.
The most recent crime spree occurred on October 18, when one car was stolen, two were burglarized and 14 were unlawfully entered in less than an hour, DailyNorthShore reported the next day.
Police in suburbs from Wilmette to Glenview to Lake Bluff have said many of the car heists in the past year have been at the hands of teenage and 20-something men from Chicago who are looking for expensive items such as designer sunglasses, smart phones and laptops – and cash — from cars as a sort of financial strategy, but that when they steal vehicles, they often use them to commit additional crimes (rather than selling the cars).
“Numerous members go out across the suburbs each night for the sole purpose of finding cars to burglarize and/or steal,” Belmonte told DailyNorthShore on October 20. “The cars are used to further other crimes rather than sold.”
The LBPD has increased overnight patrols of the village’s residential areas. The department is also increasing its outreach to residents, and on Friday evening, October 20, the police will send a “CodeRed” message to all residents to remind them of the need to lock up.
“It’s a simple message,” Belmonte stated. “Lock your cars and don’t be a victim.”
Here’s the CodeRed message:
“It is important that your vehicles are kept locked, valuables removed, and the keys / key fobs removed from the car. If possible, cars should be kept in your garage overnight with the garage door closed and locked. Working together we can greatly reduce the opportunity for these crimes in our village.”
Residents and business in Lake Bluff can sign up to receive automated messages of importance through the CodeRED system by signing up at this link.
Belmonte urged people to call the LBPD if they have questions or to report suspicious activity. The non-emergency phone number is 847-234-2151. Of course, in an emergency call 911.