(Elk Creek Crossing) — By Susan Stern — Omaha Police Captain Marcia West confirmed Friday that a purse was stolen from an unlocked car near 166th and Taylor, and a burglary occurred at 4100 N. 162nd Ave – the only crimes or attempted criminal incidents reported to police in Elk Creek Crossing from May 20 – 26.
The purse theft came to light reportedly after someone called 911 after spotting the handbag and its contents strewn on the ground near 165th and Yort. An officer alerted the victim.
The burglary happened in the middle of the day Tuesday May 23. ECC Resident & HOA Secretary Ann Smith talked to the victims, an older couple, who were not home during the break-in. A burglar (s) shattered window glass to open the front door, rifled through personal belongings, stole valuables, and got away, the direction unknown. As usual, forensic investigators collected evidence at the scene. As of Friday afternoon, West reports no arrests have been made in this case.
Recording Serial #’s
In terms of property recovery, “I hope the burglary victims recorded serial numbers, so we can cross-check if the thieves pawned the valuables,” noted West.
Serial #’s Entered In National Database
Using serial numbers of stolen goods, Omaha Police enter the information into a pawn program called LeadsOnline.com, described as the nation’s largest online database “used by law enforcement to recover stolen property” and solve crimes.
Bookmark Website Site
To keep tabs of the latest crime throughout Omaha, West refers you to crimemapping.com, a partnering agency site where Omaha Police Department crime reports are automatically sent on a daily basis.
Has ECC Crime Increased Lately?
“There’s no definitive way to conclude there’s an uptick or string of crimes and suspicious activity when not reported to us,” said West. She added that “we don’t monitor Nextdoor. So, it is difficult to comment or form any conclusions.”
The North West Omaha Police Department Precinct Captain has long expressed concern that people sometimes share crime activity on Nextdoor.com only, without filing a police report. Other times, residents do both – the best option.
Be Vigilant | Share & Report
On Friday, a Walnut Ridge resident, a neighborhood located east of Elk Creek Crossing, shared the above images with police, and on Nextdoor. The suspicious man looks like he’s checking for unlocked cars.
Video/Images Help Police
“We have been very successful arresting suspects and closing cases when victims and witnesses provide video from their surveillance systems, and we encourage the use of them,” said West.
Crimes of Opportunity Preventable
The best prevention is vigilance. West suggests you always lock up vehicles parked outdoors, and remove all valuables. At your home, leave outside lights on at night, use motion-detecting lights on the garage door, and don’t forget to close garage doors.
Garage doors accidentally left open after dark is a widespread re-occurring issue that volunteers working the citizen patrol beat spot on a regular basis, as mentioned many times by Jerry Schulte, Captain of the Walnut Ridge/Elk Creek Crossing Citizen Patrol.
Another tip – keep doors locked, and close blinds in the evening, so everybody driving buy cannot see what you own.
Speculation About Perps
While not speaking directly about the ECC burglary or purse theft cases, West says thieves around these parts tend to be “usually teenagers who go through unlocked cars, looking for cash and valuables.”
Report, Share, Communicate
While the Omaha Police Department has not presently seen a trend of increased crime and/or suspicious activity reported within our neighborhood, one thing is certain. Keep open lines of communication. Report. Share. Communicate – a point Captain West wants to emphasize:
“Police can’t catch every criminal, but by working together with our community, we can certainly make a big difference,” said West.
You may receive crime activity alerts in your neighborhood and beyond, by signing up for email notices at crimemapping.com. The Omaha Police Department partners with the third party site, and daily crime reports are sent here. Here is a screenshot of northwest Omaha crime activity from May 20-27.
If you have questions about this article, please send a note.
The author of this article is Susan ‘Susie’ Stern, a communications consultant for the HOA, and resident of Elk Creek Crossing. She is president of Stern PR Marketing, and a former on-air TV/radio broadcast journalist who worked in Omaha, Iowa, Virginia and Washington, DC markets.