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Burglaries and thefts from cars hits 5-year low

Though reported incidents are on a downward trend, the remaining months of 2018 could change that.
Graph showing auto thefts from 2014-2018 using data from the Hollister Police Department. Graph by Noe Magaña.
Person in dark clothing (lower right)looks into car for valuable items. Photo by Noe Magaña

According to local police, reported thefts from automobiles and burglaries between January and July hit a five-year low in Hollister.

After reported incidents in 2015 spiked from 138 to 173, the number of reports decreased to 120 in 2016, 117 in 2017, and 110 this year, Hollister Police Chief David Westrick said.

Auto theft includes property taken from open beds of pickup trucks or from unlocked vehicles, while burglaries involve items taken from a locked car or other compartments including tool boxes, Police reported.

Hollister resident Corey Smith said his $600 iPad was stolen when someone broke the passenger window of his Audi (a $250 repair) in the early morning of July 17.

Smith said the iPad was connected to a 3G network, so as soon as it is turned on he can track it. The only way to access the iPad is with the lock code or fingerprint feature, he said.

As of July 27, the iPad had not been turned on, as far as Smith could tell.

Smith also said a laptop was stolen from his neighbor’s unlocked car that morning. Other items were taken from surrounding neighbors as well.

In recent months, residents have posted videos on Facebook and Ring (a company that manufactures doorbells with cameras and other home security products) of what appears to be a man looking inside cars with a flashlight on streets close to Smith’s residence on Tina Drive.

On one of the videos, dated July 17 at 4:20 a.m., a man wearing jeans and a hoodie carries what appears to be a silver laptop in his left hand while he uses a flashlight to look into cars. The video also shows the man hiding behind parked cars when other cars pass by.

Another video was uploaded to Ring on July 30 showing what appears to be the same suspect looking in cars near Smith’s neighborhood. According to the post, the activity occurred at 5:01 a.m.

A third post titled “This F***ER is back again. 3:25am” of what appears to be the same individual was uploaded Aug. 12.

Westrick said these activities are under investigation and they have video. However, Westrick said it is important for people to report incidents before posting the video because 90 percent of the people forget to report it after uploading the video. He also said the people committing the crimes also have social media and can be alerted this way.

Some ways to prevent car burglaries are to secure vehicles at night, take valuables out of the car, and park in well-lit areas, Westrick said. He added that residents with security systems need to be familiar with them.

Another way people can keep their neighborhood safe Westrick said, is by forming a neighborhood watch. He said one way the Hollister Police Department gets involved with the community is by attending neighborhood watch meetings. Westrick said the instructions for creating a neighborhood watch are provided on the police department’s website.



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Noe Magaña (Noe Magaña)

Noe Magaña is a freelance writer for BenitoLink. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.

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