TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — The holiday season can often bring more opportunity for theft but law enforcement is actually seeing a decrease countywide compared to last year.
“If you don't have the opportunity to commit the crime, the crime can't take place,” said Lafayette Police Department Lt. Matt Gard.
Law enforcement leaders call theft "crime of opportunity" and this year officers say the community has been better at not allowing it to happen.
“Our officers do a great job day in and day out but it's also upon the community as well,” said Lt. Matt Gard. “The community is doing a better job of making sure their cars are locked and they're securing their valuables.”
Last December Lafayette Police Department had 31 reported thefts from vehicles. Lt. Matt Gard said that number has dropped to six this month.
The Tippecanoe County Sheriff said the areas they patrol have also seen a significant decrease.
“Theft from vehicles last year we had nine around this time period, this year we have two,” said Sheriff Bob Goldsmith.
Goldsmith believes the decrease in theft could be linked to an increase in awareness.
“Putting things up, making sure you're aware of when packages arrive, locking your vehicles, taking things out of your vehicles things like that, hopefully, that's making a difference,” said Goldsmith.
West Lafayette didn't have any reported thefts from a car but last year the city had six reported porch thefts according to Sgt. Troy Greene. This month there have been three reports, two of them happening at an apartment building.
“I think one way to change that is to have the packages delivered to the apartment complex office instead of delivering them straight to the door,” said Greene.
Sgt. Greene believes home recording devices have helped.
“I think the Ring Doorbells that everybody has is helping out quite a bit because everybody has access to what's going on at their front door right now if they own one of those cameras,” said Greene.
Purdue University is also seeing a decrease in thefts. From Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, 2016 there were 20 reported thefts. That number dropped to ten during the same time period in 2017 and 12 reported thefts during the same time period in 2018.
Purdue Police Chief John Cox said it’s usually Greek life homes that are targeted.
“Our fraternities, sororities, co-ops are privately owned facilities just like any other home all the same amenities you might find in any single-family dwelling will be found inside of these,” said Cox.
There have been no reported thefts at this time but Chief Cox said there will be continuous patrol circling the area while students are away for winter break.