A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Don’t take this the wrong way…

Written August 30th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

This sign was on Southwest Fifth Avenue on Thursday afternoon.

You wouldn’t think people need to be reminded of the obvious, but in the experience of the Albany police, it helps to do so from time to time. Or at least to make the attempt.

Hence the signs like the one above, which have been popping up in some Albany neighborhoods lately.

Lt. Travis Giboney of the Albany Police Department says the department places this sign — or presumably others like it — wherever there has been a rash of thefts from cars. In the majority of these crimes, the police have found, people left their vehicles unlocked overnight. Or they left potentially valuable items inside, in plain sight.

And maybe the signs help. In the first quarter this year, thefts from vehicles in Albany were down nearly one-third from the first quarter of 2018 — 46 this year compared to 68 the year before.

Purses left in the back seat — or backpacks, or sunglasses, or just about anything else that can be moved — make tempting targets for thieves going around looking for stuff they can steal. But:

It’s possible to misread the sign’s message as this: If you leave your stuff unsecured and somebody steals it, it’s your own fault. No, that’s not right. No matter how careless or forgetful people are, the fault for stealing their property lies 100 percent with the thieves. They don’t steal your stuff because you forget to lock your car. They steal it because they are criminals.

The signs are not meant to blame the victims of crime. All they are asking us to do is not to make things easy for the crooks. (hh)

3 responses to “Don’t take this the wrong way…”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    In a fair and just world we shouldn’t have to “remove it” or “lock it.”

    In a fair and just world, criminal behavior would not be reinforced with the progressive notion that criminals are victims too.

    No, a person doesn’t choose to steal from you because they live in an “oppressive” society. No, a person doesn’t choose to vandalize your property because they are “economically disadvantaged.”

    Crime is a personal choice. The only reasonable response is severe punishment. I choose to save my empathy for real victims.

    • Jim Engel says:

      Gordon, a contributing factor is the revolving door policy of our sheriff in allowing almost immediate release upon arrest. While on the P.D. I’d lodge ’em on a good felony charge(s) & they’d be out before my report was written. At least when we had the City jail when I arrested ’em they stayed arrested! Undoubtedly there will be “bleeding hearts” out there who will label me mean & oppressive. Rarely if ever have those criminals made restitution of any amount as part of their probation!

  2. centrist says:

    Thoroughly confused by GS’s comment. Seems to be advocating Gummint intervention.
    A childhood lesson learned in a city with population much bigger then than current Oregon population is — protect your stuff : lock doors, apply common sense.
    I’ve never subscribed to having the Gummint be the first line of defense.
    BTW, defense from predators doesn’t require arms. Common sense behavior can remove the need for LE activity


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