Local shelter-at-home orders have caused many residents to work, study, and recreate within their living spaces, so many have resorted to socially distance walks and jog on trails close to home. Due to recent thefts at San Luis Obispo trailheads, law enforcement is reminding trail visitors to leave their valuables at home.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO
KEEP IT AT HOME The San Luis Obispo Police Department and Ranger Service staff are telling trail visitors to leave their valuables at home as there have been recent reports of theft at city trailheads.
While the city does not have specific numbers, city spokesperson James Blattler told New Times
the city’s Ranger Service staff have observed a significant increase in open space use.
“Ranger Service staff and park ambassadors have maintained a presence around these areas to help ensure physical distancing guidelines are followed to protect the health and safety of our community,” Blattler said.
Rangers have observed theft rates at a somewhat normal level for this time of year, however, with the increased number of visitors, they do want to raise awareness about vehicle thefts.
Between March 19 and May 7 there were three reported thefts from vehicles at the Cerro San Luis trailhead, Blattler said. Two involved smashed windows and one was an unlocked vehicle.
He said there have been six thefts there since Jan. 1—the other three were from unlocked vehicles.
In 2019, there were 16 reported thefts at the Cerro San Luis trailhead from unlocked vehicles, window smashes, and “unsecured” items in truck beds.
Last year, Blattler said the city did a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design assessment of Fernandez Road, which leads to the trailhead. The city Ranger Service did some tree trimming and brush removal to help make the parking area more visible from Highway 101 on- and off-ramps and installed signs telling visitors to leave valuables out of sight in their vehicles.
“These actions, combined with users locking cars and leaving valuables at home will make the area less attractive to criminal activity,” Blattler said.
There has also been one reported theft at Bishop Peak, where the vehicle’s window was smashed. In all reported incidents, the stolen item was either visible on the seat or stashed in the console or glovebox.
“The city encourages all visitors to lock their vehicles, do not leave valuables in the vehicle, and leave nothing in plain sight,” Blattler said. “Additionally, the [San Luis Obispo] Police Department encourages users to leave all valuables at home. Simply putting items out of sight may not fully protect you, especially in a window smash situation.”
Lastly, he said the city urges trail goers “if they see something, say something.” ∆