Time for a Community Effort to Combat Crozet’s Thefts

It’s time. Dammit. The break-ins have been going on for too long.

mom of three said it best:

and just so you know…I still consider Crozet to be one of the safest, friendliest places in America. I hope we can build community through this problem.

Parkside Village, Waylands Grant, Cory Farm, Old Trail, Western Ridge, St. George Avenue, Jarman’s Gap … there seemingly are no neighborhoods in Crozet that are immune to these break-ins (really, just taking advantage of unlocked cars)

This is unacceptable.

If you are interested in collaborating/coordinating/helping put together neighborhood watches, please fill out this form or send it to your respective homeowners’ associations and neighbors.

Thanks to Evan S for the sound words of analysis and advice:

While I would hope police are keeping this in the back’s of their minds, I wouldn’t expect them to be wasting patrol resources actively perusing the perp(s). Instead they should be (only possible if people contact police) compiling a list of items stolen (with all identifying properties including product numbers) and comparing these looking for markets where these items are bought and sold (pawn shops, craigslist.org, etc.) and building a database of fingerprints taken from vehicle windows, doors, etc. However, I would expect the perp(s) to be wearing gloves (this time of the year it won’t look suspicious).

While it is possible that these are youth committing these crimes, unless they are stockpiling the stolen items in their parent’s homes, I’d doubt it. If they are selling these in the schools someone will eventually overhear or see what is going on. If they are stockpiling, I would expect their parents to be finding out very soon. I doubt youth could move what seems to be a number of items without someone noticing unless they have some adult assistance.

The person is probably on foot, or at least scouting/marking the area on foot looking for items to take. If he/she/they find something larger they might come back later with a vehicle; however, that would be risky given they’ve already hit the area and people would potentially be more vigilant.

Subdivisions are being hit because they are (in the Crozet area) middle to upper middle class, easily accessible, have lots of people coming and going, and the residents don’t have big dogs. Subdivisions are perfect for small time break-ins. For all the opposite reason individual residences aren’t being hit. They are not easily accessible (gates, off the road), don’t have a lot of people coming and going (not easy to blend in), and have big dogs. Individual residences are probably more likely to be cleaned out in a big break-in though. At the same time, neighborhoods should have plenty of neighbors looking out for one another!

Given the numerous occurrences of the crimes, I would expect someone local or at least familiar with the area committing the crimes and moving the items outside of the area (at a minimum to Charlottesville or the Valley) to sell. It could be a small time operation or it could be connected to a ring.

And to conclude, lock your doors. Neighborhoods are great places for this type of crime. These are crimes of opportunity, by locking your door you’re making the perp(s) do more work than they care to/can accomplish given the situation.

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25 Replies to “Time for a Community Effort to Combat Crozet’s Thefts”

  1. If they were on foot, they managed to get around quick. On Friday night Old Trail was literally hit from one end to the other. A lot of distance covered.

  2. I used to not keep outside lights on to cut down on the (rampant) light pollution in Old Trail, but since one of the earlier waves of these break-ins, the light at my driveway is always on.

    One night I was startled awake by someone ringing my doorbell at midnight. It was two Albemarle County police. My sister’s car, parked in a ‘common spot’ behind the house was flashing its lights as though its alarm should be sounding (but wasn’t). Anyway, the policemen were dealing with a traffic stop nearby and noticed the lights flashing and woke us up to see if anything was stolen (it wasn’t) and so the car’s battery wouldn’t be run down.

    We were happy they took the time to do that and thanked them for being in the area. This was a month ago. Our theory is someone was trying the handles on her car to see if they were unlocked. But, long story to point out, no light really shined where her car was ….

  3. Install lights with motion detectors. Nothing startles a would be trespasser like putting a little light on them. We like the L.E.D. floodlights best. They cast no shadows and are not as harsh, which should be a plus with the neighbors. A Mossburg Persuader 500 adds a nice touch should one of you ever spot the thieves in the act.

  4. this goes without detail, but if you’re going to leave your car unlocked – don’t leave the garage door remote in the car.

  5. I dont mine helping but only if the police take the led!!! maybe they should step up the patrols!!!

    1. local yocal –

      Thank you for the comment. One of the biggest issues we have here is the lack of more patrols. There are few patrols available to cover the entirety of the County of Albemarle overnight, so the community needs to work within itself. I haven’t looked at the budget or numbers recently, but I don’t think the police have the ability to offer more patrols.

      Realistically, I like Edward’s idea. 🙂

    2. ‘local yocal’, I seriously doubt police would take things seriously by culprits opening non locked cars. Breaking windshields & doors for theft is another level that i think would get more attention. Personally, i would rather have the police focus on bigger fish.

      Neighbors need to be more “neighborly”. Pay attentions and aware what is going on next door and across the street. Hear something outside at night… Get up and check it out, don’t just assume its normal. One of the benefits of neighborhoods is looking out for one another, not just letting the understaffed patrols deal with it.

      Don’t misunderstand me, it sucks to get robbed – but look out for your neighbor and question weird behavior.

      I am still amazed at the number of posting of people who got broken into and NOT one person saw anything peculiar.

      oh and those who think crime doesn’t happen in your area – it does. The ol saying…. There are those who have been robbed, and those who haven’t been robbed, yet.

  6. Folks-
    You really should be looking in your own hood for the culprits. I don’t live in an association but live on a main road and leave the bikes and skateboards out all the time and not once has anything been taken (knock on wood).
    A few years ago our area had some issues and after talking with each other and the area kids found out it was the kids in the neighborhood causing trouble.
    Your kids know the landscape, when people are home or away, what material objects you have and what cars you drive and where you park.
    The kids can move quickly. Have you ever driven around and seen a pack milling around the open fields ?
    Granted this could be an outsider or a group but seriously doubt it.

    1. PC- I have lived here all my life and chose to raise my children here as well. I am so content here. We lived on 810 for 5 years and my city-slicker friends would always try to convince me to lock my doors etc….I rarely locked my doors, left my purse in my car with it unlocked (I guess I didn’t see a need for another chore) and never once had anyone come in my driveway or bother me . Of course, there were bikes and kid clutter out too. Now we live in a neighborhood and are hearing about bikes being stolen and cars being stolen out of. We have had cars spray painted here, too. So we bring our cars in the garage and encourage the kids to take care of their items as well (they won’t be replaced). I don’t feel like Crozet has changed in the 5 months we have lived in a neighborhood but obviously there are more opportunities for theft.

      Frankly, my prayers are that we as a community are not discouraged or dismayed but that we and our children and community grow in contentment, not envying what our neighbors have or long for what we don’t possess. I pray this especially at this time of year and in this economy….

      1. I’ve lived in Crozet for the past 10 years and haven’t had the problems that the neighborhood associations have had in the recent past. We do leave our cars unlocked every so often with computer components, sirius radios, jackets, etc still in our cars, and yet nothing goes missing. I too hope that the associations can get a handle on this as it doesn’t make Crozet very appealing.

  7. Then they’ll break the window to get in. Just be sure to leave no valuables in the car and always lock the door from the garage into the house.

  8. Considering how alot of the new people lock their cars to go into the Post
    Office I don’t understand why they won’t lock them at night.
    The predators are arriving. They follow the crowds. Think that it is a local thing? As Crozet becomes more urban you will have more urban type problems. Just make believe your in a city up north and act
    accordingly. A shotgun in Old Trail, I just can’t picture it and neither can
    the thieves…

  9. Edward,
    So using your rationale Crozet has never had an “urban type problem” prior to the growth? No one here would ever break into cars let alone take shots at cars off of 64 or drive the wrong way on 64 while intoxicated directly at a State Trooper, those must be “urban type problems” too brought on by Old Trail et al.
    Regardless of the cause of these recent issues I think we can all agree that no one wants this for Crozet. And if there is one thing that ties us all together it’s the fact that we do not want this in our community (regardless if you are in a subdivision or not). As a community we must all be more vigilant, leaving on outdoor lights, locking cars and removing valuable items and alerting the county police if something appears to be up. Hopefully squashing this now will prevent these current issues from escalating into something else.
    Whether you agree with the growth or not these recent events are totally unacceptable.

    1. Driving the wrong way while drunk on I64 is not an urban type Crozet problem. It is not even in Crozet. The shots fired at cars on I64 was
      not a Crozet problem, it happened on a bridge in Greenwood. Groups of people breaking into cars in tract housing developements is an
      urban type Crozet problem. They know you are there. They know the
      average mindset of the people that live in these places. You want to
      turn on lights, fine. Easier to lock your car and remove the items they want. Learn how to protect what is yours. Predators do follow their prey whether you want to believe it or not. Charlottesville has had
      this problem for years now. Maybe you can get Old Trail to get a
      security patrol instead of wasting money on plastic signs promoting
      the stores in Old Trail. Yes, this is unacceptable but, it is the reality of the situation. When you rapidly expand and rebuild an area like Crozet you cannot choose who can come. You have to take whatever
      you get. Somehow the naming of the new street to nowhere and other
      Streetscape issues just don’t mean much when people’s basic security
      is threatened. I don’t think you realize what we are losing…

  10. We are getting mired in Crozet mud! Our community has grown and it will continue to do so. That is a given. We have never had control over who came here. That is a given too. There is no denying that the more people we have living in congested areas, the easier it is for thieves (young rookies or professional) to do business. They probably have statistics like 1 in 4 car doors will be unlocked. It is a numbers game for sure so the more people we have, the easier to do the job.

    We had people who made poor decisions and committed crimes here long before we had any of the new subdivisions. The incident with the dead bird in the offering plate followed by the murder of a young mother and her son in a burning home in Orchard Acres happened well before Crozet started really booming. And while the shooting from the bridge onto I-64 happened at Greenwood, most people guessed before the arrest that it was a local person because someone passing through would not have known how to get to that bridge. So that was not a newcomer either. Now with those points made, lets get on with business. That business is what can we do to help this problem?

    1. Lock car doors
    2. Supervise middle schoolers and teenagers. They should be accountable to a responsible adult especially after dark. “Where can I find you? What will you be doing?” “Where did you get the money to buy that?” Simply turning them loose with their cell phones is not supervision!!
    3. Develop a community of people who are watching out for each other as in neighborhood watch programs.
    4. Provide more lighting on your own property. I must confess, this one pains me a bit!
    5. Consider what Crozet would look like as a town, with an elected mayor, town council and our own paid law enforcement. I know this opens a can of worms for discussion, but I think we need to consider it.

      1. Hey Jim, you know every time the whackjob says “tract housing”, an angel gets his wings?

    1. Or, you could look at it this way. Property crimes, the have nots taking from the people that have. Same thing happens in Charlottesville where there is a growing transient population. You
      are asking people to pay for more lighting. They do not want to pay
      for anything. You are asking them to take responsibility. They do not
      want to and will blame you for their problems. The shotgun suggestion
      made earlier does work. If people have a fear of getting hurt on your property they will not trespass on your property. Simple. Crime has
      and always will be with us. Whatever methods you used to protect yourself and your property in the last place you lived need to be applied here. And, creating community takes years. We had one and
      just because you want one now does not make it so. People know what Crozet is supposed to look like. That image is ruined, no longer exists.
      What is happening now is not even finished yet, you want to imagine something else????

  11. People know what Crozet is supposed to look like and that image is ruined??
    Do you mean old farts like yourself who sit around and complain about anything that changes from how THEY think it should be? You are the laughing joke of this blog and you think you are so intelligent. Gives my husband and I a good laugh- thanks.

    1. Glad that I am able to provide you with some amusement. Do you know how old I am? Is it possible that people are laughing at you?
      If you have read this thread you will see that there are complaints
      about wide scale theft in tract housing developments. Hopefully this
      thread will be archived so 50 years from now the world will be able to find out what your thoughts were on 12/18/2010.

      Thanks and lock your keyboard up…

  12. He’s 59 years old. Any internet search will yield that.

    No, Edward … we’re laughing at you …

  13. Andrew, you are truly an idiot. Do you have anything that you could make a large wager with concerning my age? That would be the only way it would be worth it to me to deal with your trifling a@@.

    Grow up internet genius…

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