Southwest Lubbock County, including areas of the City of Wolfforth, are target areas for criminals committing vehicle burglaries. These burglaries are often committed by juveniles and young adults looking for an “easy” score. All too frequently these vehicle burglaries result in the theft of firearms that someone has left in their vehicle. It would be wonderful if we lived in a world where we didn’t have to worry about someone breaking into our vehicle and stealing our valuables, but we don’t. Unfortunately there are people in our community, and the surrounding communities, that would rather steal from honest, hardworking people, rather than make a meaningful contribution to society. I would ask that you please not leave valuable items, especially firearms, in your vehicle and that you lock your doors. Locking your doors does not guarantee that your vehicle will not get broken into but, it certainly makes it more difficult. I know there is a problem, in certain communities, regarding vehicle burglaries. Over the last several months I have issued directives to our officers to focus efforts on the prevention of these types of property crimes. I will not go into detail regarding all of our initiatives, but part of it is the increased patrol of problem areas. These initiatives have resulted in the prevention of vehicle burglaries as we have caught several burglary suspects prior to them being able to burglarize vehicles. These communities, that most often are the target areas, are patrolled very heavily. Even with the increased patrol we will not be able to prevent all burglaries. With the increased patrol we have seen that the number of vehicle burglaries committed during a burglary spree have been dramatically reduced, most likely because the suspects are scared off by seeing a patrol vehicle in the neighborhood. Of the burglaries that were committed, in which the burglars were not immediately caught, detectives are working to identify suspects. Investigations have revealed that suspects include individuals that reside in Wolfforth, The City of Lubbock, and Lubbock County. We continue to look for ways to combat the problem of vehicle burglaries. Recently I approached the City Council and asked permission to explore the possibility of implementing a License Plate Recognition (LPR) program. I have discussed the issue with many vendors and believe it could be a tool that would help reduce the number of burglaries and help solve crimes when they are committed. An LPR system is not a surveillance camera system. It is a tool that captures video of a vehicle’s license plate and then either stores it for later review or runs the image through video analytics software to compare it to a database of stored license plate numbers. The database is a list of stolen or wanted vehicles that have been entered into a Texas or national database as stolen. In the event a vehicle on the list enters the area, the system would alert nearby officers. This would be helpful as vehicle burglars often use stolen vehicles from which to commit their crimes. The system would also allow us to review license plates of vehicles that were in an area during the time of a given crime. This could be a valuable tool in making our community safer, and there are thousands of these systems in use all across the United States. If anyone in our community has any questions or concerns please feel free to call me.
Chief Rick Scott
Wolfforth Police Department