Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received an increase in reports of vehicle burglaries and vandalisms on beaches along the Samoa peninsula, including the Samoa Dunes and the Ma-le’l Dunes.

Car prowl, also known as theft from vehicles, is a crime of opportunity. An offender makes a decision to break into a vehicle based on a perception that there are items of value inside the vehicle, which

makes the potential payoff worth the risk. A car prowl can be completed in a minute or less, leaving very little investigative clues behind.

Because car prowl is a crime of opportunity, there are steps the public can take to prevent this crime from occurring.

  1. Keep the interior of your vehicle “showroom” clean. Always remove valuables from inside your vehicle. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office commonly receives reports of purses, bags, briefcases and wallets being stolen from vehicles. We have even received reports of thieves breaking in to steal a pair of sunglasses. Even if you do not believe the item is of value, remove it from plain site.

  2. Be cautious when storing valuables in your trunk. If your vehicle is equipped with a trunk release button on the inside, car prowlers can easily access your vehicle’s trunk space. While “hiding” items in your trunk may reduce the chance for your vehicle to be a target, the action will not completely protect you from theft.

  3. Remove garage door openers, key cards, and house, work or car keys from your vehicle.

  4. Always lock your vehicle, even if you are home. In public places, it may be tempting to leave your vehicle windows down to avoid vandalism. However, this puts you at even more risk, leaving vehicle registration and insurance information accessible to anyone nearby and increasing your chances of falling victim to identity theft, burglaries at your home and vehicle theft.

Whether at the beach, at the river or on the trails, take extra precautions to protect your property while enjoying Humboldt County’s great outdoors.

To report a vehicle burglary or related criminal activity, please contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at (707) 445-7251.