Each year, summer brings more free time for Columbus” youth, more outdoor activities for area residents and a substantial increase in the city”s burglary rate.
And the three summer statistics are related, according to Columbus Police Department Capt. Fred Shelton.
“It”s definitely a common thing every summer and whenever kids get out of school for an extended period of time,” Shelton said. “The old days of leaving your door open and leaving all of your stuff laying in your yard are gone.”
Although not an “epidemic sweeping the city,” residential theft incidents increase “a pretty good bit” every summer, Shelton explained.
In recent days, areas of Columbus” Southside have been targeted by vandals and burglars seemingly searching for scrap metal, according to Brenda Caradine, who, along with her husband, Sid, own the historic Amzi Love home near the intersection of Seventh Street and Third Avenue South.
“I”m still very upset about it,” Brenda Caradine said Wednesday of a recent theft. “I walked out on the porch Tuesday morning and noticed a few wrought-iron antique tables and plant stands were missing.
“The upsetting thing is that the police told me the people who steal things like that usually take them to a scrap yard to sell them,” Caradine added.
Although Caradine admitted she was unsure how much the furniture was worth, she said the items” “real value” lie with their history.
“They had been out there for the past 70 years, and had been part of many, many Pilgrimages,” Caradine said. “They left the rockers on the porch, but there is still just a big empty space out there.
“It”s like the old, historic things in the city just aren”t respected anymore,” she added. “I have also had graffiti on my mailbox and on a stop sign in front of my house recently.”
Shelton linked the seasonal rise in thefts to a combination of several factors, including increased involvement in outdoor activities and “general restlessness” among the area”s youth.
“During the summer, you get more of the outdoor activities like bike riding and other things where some people leave the equipment laying in their yard or outside their residence,” Shelton said. “People are just out more. And at the end of the night, they may just leave their valuable items laying outside and unguarded.
“Kids just get bored and restless and decide to commit these crimes,” Shelton added. “We usually see a lot of thefts of bikes, plants, unsecured grills, you name it.”
However, Shelton said there were a few simple ways to ensure your property remains on your property.
“If it”s something of value, secure it to something solid any way you can,” Shelton advised. “If it”s a table or chairs, get a chain and fasten it to your porch.
“Keep your bushes trimmed and install motion lights so you can see if someone is snooping around in your yard,” Shelton added. “The more you can do to make sure someone can”t easily walk off with your property, the better.”