The gradually warming weather brings residents out of their homes and into the great outdoors. Unfortunately, according to city police, it also inspires more criminal activity.
“Rocky River is a safe community. Anytime things like this happen, it’s unusual,” stated information officer Lt. Carl Gulas when asked if this is a normal occurrence during springtime in Rocky River.
During recent weeks, a rash of robberies has occurred, mostly involving unlocked cars, open garages and unsecured homes. The thieves seem to be mostly interested in smaller, easily stolen items such as GPS devices, laptop computers, cellphones, iPods and loose change. Gulas said that most of the car break-ins have occurred in the northern part of the city, most recently on Battersea, Cornwall and Frazier Drives. He added that it is not unusual for these incidents to happen in clusters.
At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Pam Bobst stated, “Leaving cars unlocked, especially in the spring, is not a good idea. Criminals seek primarily cash, but also take other items.” She encouraged residents to be “eyes and ears” for police.
The Civic Center has also been targeted by theft recently, as patrons have returned to locker rooms to find cellphones, iPods, cash and other small items missing. School Board Parks and Recreation Committee representative Kathy Goepfert reported at a recent school board meeting that a group of 11- to 13-year-olds has been fingered for the recreation center thefts. “Some of them have been caught red-handed,” she stated.
While there may also be a connection between the ‘tween thieves and robberies of unsecured homes, police are not certain and are still investigating.
Gulas said that locking vehicles and homes is the best defense against these crimes. Storing valuables in a locked locker while participating in activities at the Civic Center is also being encouraged. “Even though Rocky River is a safe community, criminal activity does occur,” he said.
While police are urging residents to watch for suspicious activities and keep an eye out for someone lurking around a neighborhood, unfamiliar individuals should not be confronted. This poses a potentially unnecessary risk. In an online statement, police ask residents to become an extension of the department.
“The police prefer to check an unusual circumstance or activity than to take a report of your property being stolen.” Any nonemergency calls can be directed to the Rocky River Police Department at 440-331-1234.