WESTFIELD, NJ — This July, 25 thefts from motor vehicles were reported to Westfield police. Nearly all of those vehicles were unlocked. Items listed as stolen range from GPS equipment to golf clubs to credit cards to loose change. Other towns nearby are seeing similar spikes in thefts from vehicles, including Clark and Scotch Plains.
In July 2013, just one theft from a vehicle was reported to Westfield Police. Why is this July different? Westfield Police Chief David Wayman said that the department always sees an increase in petty thefts during the summertime. This month, it just happens to be thefts from cars. This time last year, it was a surge in stolen bikes.
Because a small number of individuals are usually responsible for the majority of thefts like these, Wayman is hopeful that two recent arrests will result in a dramatic decrease in the thefts here in Westfield. During the past few weeks, police arrested one adult from Westfield as well as a 16-year-old boy, also from Westfield, for burglarizing cars here, he said.
“Usually with these the thieves are opportunists. They will just walk down the streets and try to open car doors to see which ones are open. Very rarely will they force entry, unless there’s something in plain view that they really want,” said Wayman. “Lock your car doors and don’t keep valuables in plain view, if you must keep valuables in your car. Take away the opportunity from the person.”
To help keep Westfield’s neighborhoods safe, he added, “If you hear or see anything out of the ordinary, call the police immediately.”