Please Empty and Lock Your Car!

The warmer weather has brought the early Park traffic to our neighborhood so it’s time for the annual Jeremiad about Car Breakins (or, as the Police put it, “Theft from Motor Vehicle”).

First the geography:  In the Police database, the Forest Hill neighborhood runs from the park to Westover Hills Blvd. and from Forest Hill Ave. to the river.

As you can see, this does not include all of the Forest Hill Neighborhood Ass’n. area and does include some of the Westover Hills Ass’n. area.

Microsoft has a nice view of the area.

Here, for a start, is the count of the most frequent unique police reports for the neighborhood from the start of the database,  Jan. 2000, through March 2017.


Theft from motor vehicle leads the parade with 27%.  If we counted the broken car windows (most of these thefts are from unlocked cars!), the total would run close to a third.

The Hot Blocks are led by 4200 Riverside, where fully half of the reports are theft from motor vehicle.


The Hot Spot in the 4200 block is the “42d St. Parking Lot” that is located in the park across from 4224 Riverside.


Our crime is seasonal, peaking in the summer with corresponding peaks in the car breakin rate.


The 4200 Riverside block shows much the same pattern.


Notice the considerable decreases after 2005 when Parks started locking the gates to the 42d. St. lot at night and off season and installed the rocks in the part of the lot that is less visible from the street.

There are two items of Bad News here:

*** Rant Begins ***

By far the most common offense (27% in this time frame) is “Theft from Motor Vehicle.” That crime (and much of the property destruction that reflects broken car windows) would entirely disappear if we (and the people who visit in our neighborhood) would lock our stuff in the trunk or take it into the house. Indeed, our bad habits in this respect – and those of folks visiting the Park — have the unfortunate effect of chumming the neighborhood to attract criminals.

*** Rant Ends ***

The other Bad News is that Parks this year removed those unsightly rocks.  This almost certainly will lead to more car breakins in the lot.

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I think it’s time for some signs in the 4200 block (and probably at the Nature Center and 4100 Hillcrest and around the Stone House) and, especially, in the 42d St. parking lot to warn the visitors:

Car Breakins Here! Lock your junk in your trunk.