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Special report: Crime in your neighborhood

Car break-ins going up in Deschutes County

Special Report: Crime in your...

BEND, Ore. - Protecting your home from burglars and thieves is not as easy as you might think. As the holidays are just around the corner, how do you keep your Central Oregon family from becoming a target?

The Bend Police Department dealt with 255 burglary cases last year, 158 of them residential burglaries. 

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office said it's not only home burglaries that are the problem, but car break-ins as well. 

In 2015, the sheriff's office saw 157 vehicle break-ins, and that number is going up, with 175 cases so far this year.  

Bend Police Sgt. Dan Ritchie  said most vehicle break-ins can lead criminals right into your home. 

Ritchie said people tend to leave their cars unlocked with spare change, personal belongings and even their garage remote inside. 

He said burglars will sometime grab the garage remote to gain access inside the home, to steal any property stored in the garage or even enter the home. 

"The most prevalent problem is theft," Ritchie said. 

Richie said his department is also seeing people leaving their garages open overnight, making it a crime of opportunity for burglars.

"You're more likely to be a victim of a property crime outside of your house, because of a lot of time, people will leave valuables outside, and it creates a crime of opportunity," Ritchie said.

Some folks are logging on to nextdoor.com, a private social media site that acts as a neighborhood watch around your community. 

Bend resident George Freund protects his home after he became the target of a residential burglary -- not once but twice. 

"These guys just came right through the window," he said. 

The burglars ransacked his home and took valuables, Freund has now taken steps to keep burglars out, not taking any chances on being victimized a third time. 

Freund has more reason than many to believe he could be a victim, and has added secret hiding spots inside his home. 

"You have to be able to anticipate what some bad guy is going to do to you," he said. "And if you have never been compromised, you will be less diligent on protecting yourself."

A warning for residents, as burglars are out lurking, looking for their next jackpot.


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