A slew of break-ins have been concerning Little Elm residents in the summer months.
In places like the splash pad and around the town, car break-ins have been occurring at an increasing rate. An overarching action plan by town officials is beginning to emerge as the calendar hits August.
Councilman Tony Singh has been aware of the issue and has proposed plans like instituting cameras in places where vehicle break-ins have been concentrated. Among these places, the splash pad is a top priority. Singh has said he will bring this option to the town to see where it goes. At the budget meeting Wednesday, councilmen also suggested placing signs in parks. These signs would be posted in places like Little Elm Park and would remind residents to lock their vehicles.
The Little Elm Police Department has highlighted greater participation in the Video Crime Watch Program. This is an existing institution that allows for community policing. A greater participation will allow police to “quickly determine if there are cameras nearby that may have captured criminal acts.” In this program residents register their security cameras with the police to help “keep the community safe,'' according to Little Elm police.
“Police officers or detectives, if necessary, may request to view your camera footage in order to assist in an investigation. You would be taking an active part in keeping the community safe,” a Little Elm police memo said. “All video crime watch information is kept confidential. Evidence provided by your camera could mean the difference between bringing a criminal to justice versus leaving a crime unsolved.”
The program does not allow police to have a live feed to a camera. Instead, the police department must request the information from the resident, and it must be deemed relevant to the case officers are looking into.
A few break-ins in particular have really put this type of vandalism on the map in the minds of residents. A break-in at the splash pad resulted in a resident losing their passport, wallet and insurance cards in the middle of the day, per one resident’s account. Two others occurred when a person smashed the windows of cars and stole a credit card. The credit card was used in McKinney when police tracked it. With the summer season still ongoing, hard numbers on the exact number of break-ins have not been finalized. Little Elm police are advising three major steps in the immediate future.
“Summer is here. This means, historically, an increase in crimes of opportunity such as car break-ins and vandalism. You can help reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a crime of opportunity by locking your vehicle, removing personal belongings and turning on your porch lights and driveway lights,” the police said in a statement.