BOISE, Idaho — Boise Police are sounding the alarm after they responded to 10 car burglaries at trailhead parking lots on Saturday.
Burglaries were reported at several local trailheads, including the 8th Street extension, Camels Back, Hulls Gulch, Polecat, and Collister.
"They happen at different times of the year, sometimes during summer when it's more popular, but we've seen an uptick now during winter," Officer Maalouf of the Boise Police Bike Patrol Unit said. "So it seems like it kind of happens year round, and it's definitely been on the rise."
Three of the burglaries were reported at Camels Back Park. All three resulted in smashed windows. Police say bags and purses were visible on the car seat in two of the cases.
Some of the cars that were burglarized were unlocked.
"I think that a lot of it is crimes of opportunity," Maalouf said. "If somebody's coming by your car, and they see it's unlocked, or they see a purse on the seat, sometimes that's all it takes to convince somebody to do something they maybe otherwise wouldn't."
Other cars were broken into, where rear or driver's-side windows were smashed.
"Sometimes we find that these are traveling crews that will come through essentially, and they'll go to areas that are hotspots that people can find pretty easily on things like Trip Advisor that are easy to get to," Maalouf said. "And where they know people are going to be away from their car for an extended period of time. "
Police say that thieves target cars at trailheads because they know people will be away from the car for an extended period of time - giving thieves a longer period of opportunity.
"Because they know you're off on a run or a mountain bike ride, that people tend to take 30 minutes or an hour, they can break into your car or even open it if it's unlocked - which we've definitely seen and discourage," Maalouf said. "They can go use your cards by the time you even get back to your car and realize that something was taken. Because a lot of people nowadays can cancel them quickly online, and the length of time you're away from your car, doing a run or a mountain bike ride - anything you do from a trailhead, they know that they have that window of opportunity to go use whatever it is they find before you have time to cancel it."
Credit cards were stolen in many of the car burglaries over the weekend. Police say thieves also target wallets, cell phones, and purses.
"Anything that you leave in view of any value that they can pawn, sell, or use right away - they tend to take," Maalouf said.
The string of burglaries is something that many local hikers didn't have on their radar.
"I always thought if we were out here we were all kind of recreating together, not really worrying about that," Courtney, a hiker who hits Hulls Gulch with her dog Coast everyday said. "I always make sure my car is locked. I don’t really leave anything too valuable in there. But I’ll defiantly be a little more careful.”
Boise Police say hikers can also be more careful by keeping valuables our of view, or leaving things you don't need at home when you hit the trails.
"Most people, even if you need your license on your way to the trailhead, you can put it in a zipper pocket or something like that. Bring it with you," Maalouf said. "But you don't necessarily need your whole purse. You don't need a computer. If you're not going to use your phone even sometimes you can leave that at home. Just be smart with what you do need and then where you end up leaving it."
BPD sums up their theft prevention tips in three main points:
- Lock It: Lock Your Vehicle
- Hide It: Hide Your Valuables
- Keep It: Keep Your Property
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