Let’s Work Together to Stop Auto Theft

Let’s Work Together to Stop Auto Theft

Auto theft in Lompoc is proliferating. These thefts come in two types.  One is for the catalytic converter and the other is to part out the car or the car itself. Many of these cars end up in the river bed, out on Santa Rosa Road, or out in the fields by San Antonio Rd.

Auto theft can be debilitating to a family. Imagine if your family lost their transportation. Work is threatened, getting simple groceries is a challenge and emergencies become a nightmare. That does not include the financial burden of fixing or buying a car, thousands of dollars. Many families simply cannot afford this and something as simple as this can spiral them into poverty.

We as a community need to solve auto theft

In many ways, Lompoc is an island. The only way out is H St or by the home depot on highway one or 246. Also, our police seem to be hamstrung because they know that the perpetrators of this crime will probably be back on the street in short order.  But that cannot stop us.  We have to care enough to say enough is enough and take action.

I suggest we create a task team consisting of the police chief, a council person, a church person, a business person, a commuter resident, and a local district attorney. They would be tasked with coming up with ways to make Lompoc become a bad or very uncomfortable place to do these activities.

Examples of possible solutions they might consider:

  1. The city subsidizes GPS tracking systems for local residence cars that are activated by the residents when they park their cars for the night. Perhaps they can be armed when a person leaves their car at night. Maybe even a link to local police. It would not take too many caught thieves to make them wish to move on to easier grounds.
  2. A protocol with the district attorney and a local judge is that as soon as a person is caught, they are held as long as can legally be done. Let’s make it uncomfortable.
  3. Every perpetrator of theft is charged and prosecuted. These thefts must exceed the $900 felony threshold. Let’s get a reputation that no one simply gets away with it, they must suffer before we are done with them.
  4. The police instituted a policy of immediately obtaining a search warrant for the suspect’s house. My guess is anyone who is a vehicle thief probably has incriminating evidence in their house.
  5. A police group of two detectives is created to focus on theft in Lompoc including autos.

I am sure some of these are not all possible, but a task team could explore these and other approaches.

The goal would not necessarily be to actually convict but rather to make Lompoc such a pain in the A$$ for these operators that they simply go elsewhere.

Theft in Lompoc has become a blight on our community and is time that the leaders of Lompoc consider this important and focus on solutions instead of believing there is nothing that can be done.  I for one am tired of hearing, “We just have to accept it” “or “No sense reporting this because nothing is done”

Join me in urging our city council to take positive steps to find a solution.

Article Submitted to Lompoc Today by Steve Bridge

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