Police try combating western Lawrence auto burglaries with education

As I reported a couple weeks ago, there’s been a string of auto burglaries recently where in many cases, Lawrence police say, vehicles left unlocked overnight made for easy prey. Likewise for vehicles where tempting valuables were left in plain sight.

In addition to ongoing efforts to catch the criminals responsible (of course), police are also trying to combat such crimes from another angle: citizen education.

Earlier this week two officers spent several hours going door to door in neighborhoods hit by auto burglaries, on a crime prevention and community engagement assignment, Lawrence Police Officer Derrick Smith said in an email. He said residents seemed appreciative.

“We believe several potential victims were helped and educated,” Smith said. “Specifically, one resident who left her vehicle unlocked with valuable items in plain view and another citizen who accidentally left her garage door open.”

Smith said another officer was reaching out to neighborhood associations to provide awareness and crime prevention tips, in hopes those groups would in turn share the tips with their members. Smith said officers had knocked on doors in the northwestern part of the city, and may also hit the southwestern part this week.

— I’m the Journal-World’s public safety reporter. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or by phone at 785-832-7187. I’m also on Twitter, @saramarieshep.