On the Beat with Lt. Schoeppner

Lt-SchoeppnerLt. D.G. Schoeppner is Tucker’s liaison to the DeKalb County Police Department and can be followed at facebook.com/dgschoeppner or emailed at dgschoeppner@dekalbcountyga.gov.

One of the greatest challenges in combating crime is the random element. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. Someone that is predisposed to committing crimes sees an easy score and takes it. Because of this, solving these crimes is incredibly hard. This month we’ll talk about how an ounce of prevention really can be worth a pound of cure.

Last year, the pandemic really brought this into focus. Our residential burglaries were down by over half. This was because more people were home for longer periods of time. This meant fewer opportunities for criminals to commit these crimes. However, this was contrasted by auto thefts. Last year, we had a seven percent increase from 2019. How does this happen? It’s opportunities that we are handing to the criminals.

Royalty-GrisbyMany of our auto thefts last year were from gas stations. Folks would drive up to the pump and leave their car running, either because they think they will only be there for a minute or because they have keyless ignitions on their vehicles. Criminals will wait around convenience stores, for instance, looking for just this type of opportunity. Once the driver is away from their car, the criminal will “slide” right into the driver’s seat and take the vehicle. This is literally how that term came to describe these sorts of crimes.

There are other ways that criminals prey on our inattentiveness. Just a couple weeks ago, one-year-old Royalty Grimsby was kidnapped when her mother’s car was stolen. Mom was a delivery driver. She left her car running, with the child inside, while she made a delivery. Criminals preyed on this moment and took the vehicle. After a 14-hour manhunt, we finally recovered the young child and reunited her with her mother.

No one wants to have their property stolen. They most certainly don’t want harm to come to their loved ones. That is why we all have to appreciate that a few moments is all that it takes for any of us to become a victim. That is also why we all must be constantly vigilant. If we can all work toward that goal, we can fight crime by not letting it occur to begin with.

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