Car burglars thwarted in 2007 | ParkRecord.com

Car burglars thwarted in 2007

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

The number of vehicle burglaries reported in Park City in 2007 dropped by almost 50 percent from the previous year, the Police Department reports, relief for Parkites who were victimized during a rash of car break-ins in 2006.

In its annual crime report, the Police Department says 69 people reported vehicle burglaries in 2007, down from the 129, about one every three days, in 2006. People breaking into vehicles have long plagued Parkites, and vehicle burglaries are a common crime in a city where some people regularly leave their car windows down and their cars unlocked.

Police Chief Lloyd Evans says police officers cracked down on car burglars in 2007, a response to the problems in the previous year. In 2006, there was a string of cases, with some coming in the same night.

"Our response to that, of course, was to do saturation patrols," Evans says, adding that patrol officers mapped where the cases were reported and then aggressively watched for problems in those locations. "Zing, the officers would pay a lot of attention to that area."

Evans says more police officers in 2007 patrolled neighborhoods and parking lots. He also says police officers made arrests of suspects in the 2006 cases early in 2007. He acknowledges the steep drop in cases between 2006 and 2007 surprises him.

"Just our response had to help," the police chief says.

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The 69 reports were the fewest since 1999, when the police investigated 48 vehicle burglaries.

He calls car burglaries "crimes of opportunity," and he hopes Parkites better understand that they should lock their cars.

The Police Department report shows major-crime reports were steady between 2006 and 2007. The reports are up about 11 percent since 2000. There were no homicides in 2007, four rapes, one robbery and three arson cases. Evans has long maintained there are few violent crimes in Park City, and the last homicide was in 2003.

"I certainly consider it to be a very safe community," he says.

The number of assaults, 87, was the highest since 1999, when 111 were reported. Evans says they "mostly stem from people having too much fun." The largest percentage of assaults occurs on Main Street, he says.

"I think it’s a sign of the ever-increasing popularity of our nightlife," he says.

Other details in the report include:

( The police arrested 592 people in 2007 — 450 adults and 142 juveniles. Of those arrested, at least 399 are white and at least 129 are Latino. As few as 15 are black, Asian or Indian.

( The gender and age group accounting for the most arrests was men between the ages of 18 and 25. The group with the fewest arrests was women 56 years old or older.

( Police officers wrote 6,004 tickets, the most since 2005. The number of accidents, 556, was the fewest since 2004.

( People reported losing $941,028 in property, and the police say they recovered $477,211. Evans says the figure was skewed by an expensive piece of construction equipment that was reported lost after it had been misplaced.

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