More than 100 incidents of larceny and breaking and entering have been reported over the past two months in Hudsonville and Georgetown Township, said Capt. Mark Bennett of the Sheriff’s Office.
“Most recently, we’ve arrested and identified two subjects in the last couple of weeks who were involved in some of these incidents, but we know that there’s more people,” Bennett said.
Officers resurrected a decades-old tactic to hinder the thefts, which are mostly from vehicles. They started issuing property check slips to people with unlocked vehicles and garages left open at night.
The decision received mixed reactions online after a woman posted a picture of the slip on Facebook. Some praised the officers; others called it an invasion of privacy.
“We certainly instruct the officers to not be intrusive in any regard,” Bennett said. “So, vehicles that were left near the street, or parking lots, that are easily determined to be unlocked, just a note was left, a reminder.”
Other law enforcement agencies are dealing with similar increases in unlocked vehicle thefts, and Ottawa County is trying to be proactive, Bennett said.
“People pay good money to have police protection, and part of that protection is the prevention of crime,” he said. “(You don’t just) get a police officer if you are the victim of a crime. Let's try to prevent that on the front end."