We recently arrested two Cleveland residents who were caught entering unlocked cars after dark. Their explanation for what they were doing in Shaker Heights reinforced a common request we provide the public! (Lock your car doors!)
They called it “hoppin” or “car hoppin”, as if it was a game kids play for fun. Sadly their explanation reinforced an obvious fact that “hoppin” is common knowledge among young men and women with criminal intent. They explained that “hoppin” is the practice of going car to car looking for one that is unlocked. The belief is that residents of the suburbs do not lock their cars, often leaving items of value ripe for the taking. One of them bragged about his group of friends making hundreds of dollars a week taking money, credit cards, and other valuable items from unlocked cars. Remarkably they even talked about how kids will routinely switch what city they target to avoid police scrutiny. Until being caught by Shaker Heights Police, one of these young men boasted that almost half the cars he attempts to enter in a night will be unlocked. So why do we tell you this story?
Both of these kids told us that they would never break into a car if it was locked. They explained how that would increase the chance of leaving evidence behind to catch them. They knew the added time and commotion to break into a car also significantly increased their risk. It seems even criminals understand risk, and often do simple things because they can!
Without knowing they were saying it, these two men provided our residents the simple answer to preventing a significant amount of crime in our city. Lock car doors, secure your valuables, and shut the garage door at night!
Call us if you need us, we will be here!