Huntington Beach Police to Install More Cameras to Thwart Burglars

Huntington Beach Police to Install More Cameras to Thwart Burglars

A police vehicle in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

5/23/2024

Updated: 5/23/2024

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Groups from South America that have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border are committing thefts and casing neighborhoods—sometimes impersonating Uber Eats drivers—looking for homes to burglarize, according to Huntington Beach Police Capt. Oscar Garcia.
They are able to do so, he said, because of a visa waiver program where criminals can cross the border without a background check.
“The people that we are arresting, they’re wanted for other crimes over there,” he told a group of a couple dozen that had gathered for a police update at the Huntington Beach Elks Lodge May 20. “But because of the visa waiver program, where they don’t do a background on the people that are coming, that’s what’s causing the problem.”
According to the captain, once a home is chosen, thieves sometimes park a fake work truck in the driveway of unsuspecting homes when they know homeowners are away. They also may impersonate Uber Eats drivers, carrying a bag of takeout and ringing the doorbell. When no one answers, he said, they radio their partners and break into the home.
“They know no one’s home [but] they just want to make sure,” he said of the delivery tactic.
Thanks to a special task force involving Huntington Beach Police and other law enforcement agencies—in coordination with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office—four crews were arrested last year with the help of surveillance cameras.
Such cameras have been one of the most effective tools in fighting crime, Mr. Garcia said, as police are too busy responding to calls to closely monitor neighborhoods.
He said calls from residents regarding suspicious activity recorded on such cameras are the best way for police to keep tabs on communities.
“What really helps us is you guys,” he said to the crowd. “The community and the police department have to work together in partnership. ... We have 30 square smiles where we’re going call-to-call sometimes, so it’s difficult to focus on one particular area.”
Plans are underway to introduce more surveillance cameras in Huntington Beach on public property and to establish what’s called a “real time crime center” to help prevent crime. Thieves often use gloves so relying on fingerprints won’t work, Mr. Garcia said.
“We'll be installing more cameras, public safety cameras, which will help everybody else stay safe within the city,” he said.
He recommended homeowners use signs as one tactic to ward off thieves, such as camera surveillance signs, even for homes without cameras. Also locking all entry points, even second story windows, and leaving lights or a TV on can help deter thieves.
Most burglaries happen around dinner time, or 5 p.m., he said.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

Author

Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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