Lake Highlands North prides itself on having a very active crime watch program, which makes it even more surprising that the neighborhood is having a significant problem with the burglary of motor vehicles (BMV’s).

According to a June 8 letter sent to Lake Highlands North homeowners by Win Evans, HOA president, the neighborhood has had 21 BMV’s since January 2, 2009. All of the BMV’s have occurred between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. and the mode of theft has been the same. Each burglarized vehicle was parked in the rear driveway or on the street at the time of break-in, and a window was smashed to gain entry. The criminal then removed valuable items such as CD Players, iPods, and cell phones.

If criminal mischief crimes (vehicle break-ins where no theft occurred) are counted as well, there have been a total of 27 vehicle related crimes in the neighborhood this year. That averages out to at least one vehicle related crime a week, in a neighborhood where the crime watch reported only 5 vehicle break-ins for all of 2008.

Evans said the HOA and neighborhood crime watch are committed to eliminating the crime spree. They’re teaming up with volunteers in patrol and extended neighborhood patrol to increase late night patrols in the neighborhood. As for the residents, the letter recommends they report all suspicious persons and vehicles to the police regardless of perceived significance.

According to Evans’ letter, Deputy Chief of Police Tom Lawrence, Northeast Division said he has not seen the same increase in BMV’s in any other surrounding neighborhood.

As we all know, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so remove all valuables from your vehicle before leaving it unattended and make sure everything is locked up tight. It’s also a good idea to park your vehicle in a secure location (i.e., in the garage or behind locked gates) when possible and leave outside lights on from dusk until dawn.