It was all part of police Lt. Larry Hesselgesser’s free talk titled “Safety in you home, business and community,” given Wednesday, Aug. 28 as part of the ongoing Distinguished Speaker Series at La Jolla Community Center, 6811 La Jolla Blvd.
Hesselgesser addressed the subject of community crime discussing break-ins, traffic and car and identity theft, as well as answering guests’ questions.
“You’re our eyes and ears and we need to work together,” Hesselgesser told the crowd, noting Neighborhood Watch is a great tool residents can use to guard against crime. He added social-media sites, like nextdoor.com, as well as smart phones, are providing new technological avenues for residents to be in contact with one another and share information to make their neighborhoods safer.
The best way to guard against residential burglaries, common in La Jolla and more plentiful in summer with people away on vacations, is to lock down your residence.
“Burglars are out there casing, looking for things — door and windows open, gates unlocked — that make it easy for them to get in your house,” Hesselgesser said.
Suggestions given for making homes harder targets for crooks included getting a dog, adding more security lighting and using dowels, which don’t allow windows to open more than a couple of inches.
Hesselgesser said there are an average of six home burglaries a week between La Jolla, Pacific Beach and Clairemont, all handled by the police department’s Northern Division.
Asked what thieves are looking to steal, Hesselgesser answered, “Cash, jewelry and guns.”
“If you have guns, jewelry or other valuables, keep them in a safe that’s bolted down so burglars are not able to come and get them quickly,” he advised.
Speaking from experience, Hesselgesser said house alarm systems, including those with motion sensors, are coming down in price. He also advised residents to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and purchase LED lights, which are expensive at $25 per bulb, but which last 20 years.
“They are way brighter and can be set to be activated by a sensor,” he said.
For car break-ins, Hesselgesser offered the same advice as he did with homes: “Lock your doors and windows, don’t leave stuff — phones, laptops — in plain view.”
Car and home burglaries are unalike in that “car burglaries happen in the middle of the night, and house burglaries happen during the day,” Hesselgesser said.
One final piece of advice Hesselgesser left the audience with was to implore them to keep their eyes open, be observant and above all else, contact Northern Division at (619) 531-2000 if they see anything suspicious.