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'Operation Hello Neighbor' aims to prevent theft

Posted December 2, 2008
Updated December 3, 2008

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— In an effort to fight rising open-garage burglaries and car thefts, the town of Cary launched "Operation Hello Neighbor" on Tuesday. Garage burglaries and automobile-related thefts are the town's most  frequent, preventable crimes.

The outreach effort aims to educate residents about the risks of leaving their garage doors open and their vehicles unlocked.

"We've forgotten to close our garage door, and it will stay open all night,” Cary homeowner Philip Diaz said.

Patrol officers went door-to-door Tuesday, talking with residents about the risks of leaving their garage doors open and their cars unlocked.

"I think a lot of times people just tend to overlook things, and I think that is why we want to remind them before they become victims," Cary Police Lt. Kevin Tingen said.

From January to Nov. 4, police had 35 reports of open-garage burglaries. During that same time, Cary received 53 reports of larcenies from vehicles at apartment complexes.

“While there isn’t anything illegal about leaving your garage or car door open or leaving items in clear view, doing so makes it very easy for criminals to steal valuable things like tools, food, GPS units, wallets and purses and even the car itself,” said Cary Police Lt. Travis Baker.

Carolyn Berlin's garage was burglarized this summer. She said she was grateful she wasn't home.

"What if I had walked out while they were there? That was bothersome to me,” Berlin said.

Some homeowners say Cary's low crime rate gives them a false sense of security.

"I think it is rather easy to become complacent,” Diaz said.

Officers will be in different neighborhoods daily to talk with homeowners about theft prevention. Fliers will also be distributed around town.

"Operation Hello Neighbor" goes through Jan. 31.


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  • WRAL is joe_dirt Dec 3, 2008

    Please, let's not forget, these are mostly transplanted citizens of a "northern" persuasion.

  • Timbo Dec 3, 2008

    "Locking the car won't keep the thieves out."

    Nope, but if you purchase a car alarm, odds are that they won't touch it.

  • Mungo Dec 3, 2008

    I think it's time for citizens to start their own program.

    "Hello Glock..."

    My father always taught me to never go on someone's property unless they knew you were there and you had their permission. Otherwise, you took the risk of being shot.

    My garage isn't left open for long during the day, but let me catch someone in there that isn't suppose to be. I don't mind having a jury of 12 decide whether I was right or wrong.

    If people took a more *active* stance on crime, drugs, gangs, etc... there wouldn't be a problem.

    Sure, the police are only minutes away, but when seconds count, is that good enough?

  • LabTech Dec 3, 2008

    My comment about leaving things unlocked or in plain view being an invitation is not a statement in support of the thieves. It's a realistic observation that in today's world there are people who will take things not locked down. That's why there are alarm systems on priceless artifacts, the gold in Fort Knox has the military's protection, and why I use a simple laptop cable lock while at work. If you like your things, you should protect them. Common sense.

  • mikeyusmc Dec 3, 2008

    I am not a Cary resident but I do agree that this is a nice program for them to run. Too often people complain the government isn't trying to help but then complain about costs when they do. You can't have it both ways. Kudos to the Cary police for a proactive program.

  • uncalumni02 Dec 3, 2008

    Leaving your doors unlocked or garage door open is not an invitation for a thief to take whatever he/she wants...however, COMMON SENSE should tell one that if doors are left unlocked (not b/c you forgot but b/c you feel it won't happen to you) or garage doors open, then there is a strong possibility that something of value will be taken...it's not rocket science.

  • IzzMad2016 Dec 3, 2008

    These crimes of opportunity are more and more prevalent in every city and Cary is no exception. Both of our vehicles were pilfered during the night last year -- we keep nothing of value in either of them except for loose change in the ashtray which the thieves helped themselves to. We started locking our vehicles after that and my door lock is now broken where the next roving band of petty thieves tried to get into the car anyway. I think it's most often teenage criminal wannabe's that don't have enough supervision. More and more cities and town are enacting a curfew for teens -- not sure if Cary has one but we could sure use one.

  • GoBoSox Dec 3, 2008


    Get real! I have lived in a very nice neighborhood in Cary for 2 1/2 years and know who my neighbors are. Fact is, of the 9 houses on my cul-de-sac, I can only see two garages from inside my home. I did however, notice that the dome light inside my neighbor's car was on last week at 9PM and called him so he wouldn't wake up to a dead battery.

    Don't criticize what you don't know!

  • mtr Dec 3, 2008

    Here is what will be happening in Cary soon. Just another way to forward an agenda.


  • lawpirate is still around Dec 3, 2008

    BigPinkStork!!!! I think I love you! That is EXACTLY how I feel. We give the bad guys such an easy ride by letting THEM off the hook and blaming the victim. It's my garage and my stuff in it. If I want to leave it open, that's not an ivitation in. And you get what you get if you come in without permission.

    The rest of you better lock up tight and go hide in your closets because you're helping hand our world and freedoms over to the bad guys.