Warmer temperatures bring an increase in crime

Noah Johnson | Daily Press Cars with unlocked doors are easy targets for potential criminals

ESCANABA — The weather has started warm up which means more people are out and about. Unfortunately, more people could result in more crime.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), 2023 was a record breaking year as more than 1 million vehicles were reported stolen, while overall vehicle thefts increased by 1 percent from 1,008,756 in 2022 to 1,020,729 in 2023, an increase of 11,973 vehicle thefts nationwide.

This increase in activity has steadily been on the rise since 2019 across the United States. Like most nationwide issues, every part of the country is affected by this increase in vehicle theft, and the city of Escanaba has not been immune.

According to the Escanaba Department of Public Safety, warmer weather can result in more crimes, including vehicle break-ins.

Lieutenant Jeffrey M. Erickson of the Escanaba Department of Public Safety said that his office typically see an increase in crime during the summer months, specifically breaking and entering to vehicles.

“The increase seems to come as a result of a couple of things.  First and foremost, it’s the nice weather and secondly kids are out of school or getting close to being done with school for the summer,” Erickson said.

He added that the majority of cases they see involve teenagers who have more free time with school being out for the summer.

Erickson said that these crimes don’t happen to one specific area or even type of vehicle, but that they are crimes of opportunity.

“Suspects are out and about in the nice weather late at night and will just start checking vehicles to see if they are unlocked,” Erickson said.

As simple as it may sound, locking you door every time you leave your vehicle unguarded deters potential thieves.

“I think the number one thing people can do to help the safety of their vehicle is to lock it every time they leave them unattended.  And that doesn’t mean just at their homes.  Like I said, these are crimes of opportunity and it can literally happen anywhere; schools, grocery stores, shopping centers (or) doctor’s office’s just to name a few,” Erickson said.

Aside from locking your vehicle, it is important to remember not to leave valuables such as money, cameras, laptops, cell phones or other important items in your vehicle, especially not visible from the outside.

Erickson encourages the community to be mindful of where you park at night and look for well lit areas if possible.

“When you park your vehicle for the evening try to have it in a lighted area or have some type of motion light that activates when someone is nearby.  Security cameras are also a great idea,” Erickson said.

He also included words of wisdom for active or prospective criminals.  

“I would say to those criminals (and) potential criminals, think twice before you act, it’s not worth it. It’s only a matter of time before you get caught.”


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