Deputies from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will soon begin responding in person to all reports of burglaries, even if the crime has already occurred. That’s a departure from the current practice, which only requires an in-person response to a burglary in progress.
In the past, burglary victims were referred to the WCSO’s website to file a report if the burglary wasn’t in progress. That will change when the new response guidelines take effect April 5 and victims of vehicle, residential and commercial burglaries will be asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at 775-785-9276.
Reports for burglary in progress should made by calling 911.
A recent community survey by the WCSO found that vehicle burglaries were one of the top crimes in the region, and earlier this month KRNV/FOX 11 reported an uptick in thefts of catalytic converters from area vehicles. Sheriff Darin Balaam said the goal of the new effort is “reducing vehicle and residential burglary crimes by 15% within one year’s time.”
That decrease may not happen right away, however. According to a WCSO statement, more than half of property crimes aren’t reported to law enforcement because often victims don’t believe action will be taken or that they’ll get their stolen items back. With a promised in-person response by a Sheriff’s deputy, area residents may be more apt to report the crime, potentially driving up the number of calls received.
The Sheriff’s Office says that’s ok.
“We would much rather see an increase in victims reporting a crime than to have those very same people feel unrepresented or undervalued by local law enforcement,” said Sarah Johns, public information officer for the WCSO.
Regardless of the numbers, Sheriff Balaam said he wants burglaries reported and for deputies to gather information and evidence, and increase patrols.
“This intelligence-led policing style hinges on the information the public will provide,” Johns said.
Balaam agreed. “If an individual reports being a victim of one crime, it can provide us intelligence that helps the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office protect the whole of the community. Our deputies can identify patterns and suspects to prevent future, related crimes,” he said.
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in marketing, public relations and communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She also serves as director of communications for Nevada Cancer Coalition, a statewide nonprofit. Though she now lives in Atlanta, she is a Nevadan for life and uses her three-hour time advantage to get a jump on the morning’s news.