HPD officer meets with Greystone residents about recent thefts

By MICHAEL J. BROOKS

Special to the Reporter

HOOVER – Officer Brian Hale of the Hoover Police Department met with Greystone residents on May 3 to discuss two recent automobile break-ins. Hale said the break-ins occurred at night in two unlocked vehicles.

“Sometimes the perception is that there’s a rash of break-ins, and this comes often through social media,” Hale said. “But there have been only two this calendar year. We want these to be zero, and that’s our commitment to the neighborhood.”

Hale said surveillance video from one home showed the perpetrator trying to open the doors to two vehicles that were locked, then moving on to a third vehicle that was unlocked. Detectives haven’t yet identified the criminal or criminals, but the video is still being studied, and the cases are still open.

“These types of criminals work overnight when people are home and their vehicles are home,” he said. “They don’t usually break windows or jimmy doors so as not to create noise or trip alarms. They don’t want attention, but they do want whatever they can sell or trade or get rid of quickly. Sometimes it can be inexpensive items like cupholders or sunglasses, but they also take computers and other electronic gear. The motive is mostly drugs, so they want a little bit of cash for a quick fix.”

Hale said part of his job is to conduct neighborhood watch training, and he did this in Greystone last August.

“What I’ll do…is give an update and share the statistics,” he said. “Again, the perception is that we’ve had a rash of these, but the actual calls for service show a different story. That doesn’t mean neighborhood safety isn’t a concern—it is what we’re trying to provide.”

Hale said he planned to talk about the “meat and potatoes” of neighborhood safety at the community meeting.

“Expensive video equipment may not be necessary,” he said. “As I say, we do have video from one of these incidents and it’s helpful. But I always outline three things that every homeowner should do.”

First, homeowners should park vehicles inside the garage if possible.

Second, residents should use good quality LED lighting.

“LED is energy-efficient, and it’s bright,” he said. “These can be on a dusk-to-dawn sensor or on a motion detector. Light is a great deterrent to theft.”

Third, homeowners should use common sense, either removing items of value from their vehicles or at least removing them from plain sight.

“And always lock your doors,” Hale said.