Fresno police address latest increase in car theft

Fresno Police are focused on a trend they can't get rid of, one that is slowly increasing and leaving cops in Fresno to get creative.
October 11, 2013 5:00:52 PM PDT
Fresno Police are focused on a trend they can't get rid of, one that is slowly increasing and leaving cops in Fresno to get creative. Chief Jerry Dyer said, "one crime that is plaguing us as of late is the crime of auto theft."

A city-wide spike in stolen cars has officers frustrated and working to stop the trend. Christian Escalera, a Fresno State senior, was happy to talk about his Honda. Hondas are known as the most stolen car in Fresno. Escalera speaks from experience; his car was recently recovered after thieves drove it away from the on campus dorms.

"It changes a lot of the things you do you gotta be aware of your surroundings and all that," Escalera said.

Since Escalera got his car back he has not replaced the stereo that was stolen and instead of the normal steering wheel he has a removable one. "This is what I had to resort to, one of these, I put it on there, you could easily buy one but I mean it's more difficult this way and people are less likely to steal your car," Escalera said.

Escalera admits most people don't think like he does and many are easy targets for thieves looking for a crime of opportunity.

"We know the vast majority of cars in our city are being stolen by a handful of people so we need to make sure that handful of people stay in jail," Dyer said.

Dyer said the department has seen a significant increase in auto theft over the past few months. "It's frustrating when you're passionate about reducing crime and to see the auto theft numbers rising after we've made so much progress- the key is- it's okay to become frustrated- but not to give up."

That means officers are getting creative, discussing things like buying beds to keep car thieves at the Fresno County Jail, and using GPS monitors on those who steal the most.

In the meantime, people like Christian are doing everything possible to not ever be a victim again. "You don't have to resort to what I did, don't leave things visible that catch people's eye," Escalera said.

Police remind people that are some easy ways to prevent you from becoming a victim. Don't leave valuables in your car, always locks the doors, and consider some sort of anti-theft device.