If you haven’t seen the Crime Log in this week’s Sun, it’s available on the Sun website. http://bit.ly/1qZbK5U

For details about the wave of residential burglaries, and police advice on protecting your home, visit www.sunnews.org and click “Crime Log: Police advise public to lock doors.”

The Sun newspapers recently profiled Lt. Bob Mullins of the Seal Beach Police Department. To read the profile, visit www.sunnews.org and click on “Meet Seal Beach Police’s Bob Mullins.”

 

(Editor’s Note: I’m turning my blog over to the chief this week.—Charles)

Seasons greetings to you and your family from the men and women of the Seal Beach Police Department. As I write this, today’s date is December 19, 2013.

What that means is there are 12 days left to steal before Christmas! This may seem a shocking statement in our safe town but there are individuals who are thinking just that.

Last night we had an auto burglary in College Park West. A resident left her purse in her car and a criminal broke her window to steal the purse.

A few weeks ago, a car was stolen from the Centex homes area (gated community just north of Target). The vehicle was unlocked with the keys inside.

Seal Beach is a very safe community but we can make it safer with a few simple steps:

• Lock your cars and remove any items

• Lock the doors and windows of your house when you leave

• Install motion detector lights on the front of your house, patios or business

• Consider cameras for your home or business

These few simple steps will prevent these crimes of opportunity.

It is only with your partnership that we will continue to drive down crime in Seal Beach.

We did catch the criminals in the auto burglary and vehicle theft I earlier mentioned. However, we should have never allowed ourselves to be victims’ of these crimes. The men and women of the Seal Beach Police Department wish everyone a safe and prosperous new year and thank you for allowing us to serve.

—Chief Joe

“Chief Joe” Stilinovich is chief the Seal Beach Police Department.

Seal Beach arrested a man for bank fraud and identity theft today. For details, visit the home page of the Seal Beach Sun.

I wrote a generally positive crime story in this week’s Sun. Believe me when I say that’s a rarity—even in Seal Beach, a place with streets that are seldom mean.

Crime overall went down last year. Most violent crime also went down.

Larceny remains a problem, but most of that appears to be theft from cars and buildings.

That’s only my opinion, of course, but it is an informed opinion.

I’ve been writing about crime most of my life. When I was 14, I decided I was going to be the world’s greatest mystery writer. On weekends, I often took the bus to Long Beach City College and looked up crime statistics. I read fiction and non-fiction about crime, policemen, and investigative procedures.

In spring of 1986, I became the police beat reporter for the Daily Forty-Niner at California State University, Long Beach.

I’ve been doing the Sun Crime Log for about eight years now.

All of which brings me back to my previous point: in my opinion, the streets of Seal Beach are safe. No doubt the police can see some areas that could stand improvement. So do I. I’m sure citizens who’ve been victimized would be willing to debate me.

That said, I stand by my words just the same. I am seldom afraid while walking Seal Beach streets at night. OK, I dislike walking past any shrub or hedge large enough to conceal a grown man, but that’s because I spend too much time reading the crime log.

I walk past dark alleys far more afraid of a motorist with a lead foot than a mugger. A foolish driver gunning it down an alley is a far more likely threat to my safety in Seal Beach. In my former city of Long Beach, I’d be more worried about criminals lurking in the shadows.

So, at the risk of being redundant, I will say yet again that Seal Beach is a safe place, even though I doubt I will never write the words, “No serious crimes were reported in Seal Beach last year.”

I’d love to write that story, but I don’t think such a story will ever be written anywhere. A man can dream, though.

All that said, I think Seal Beach residents can bring the crime figures down significantly in the years ahead. Of the 593 crimes that the Seal Beach Police Department knew about in 2012, 124 were thefts from vehicles—a category that includes both burglaries of locked cars and thefts from unlocked cars.

If every car owner in Seal Beach would simply lock their car doors, Seal Beach might see a significant reduction in larceny and free up time for officers to deal with other crimes.

If every car owner in Seal Beach would take their valuables inside or store those valuables in the trucks of their cars—in addition to locking the doors—Seal Beach might see an even greater reduction in larceny.

If every resident of a house with a garage used that garage for parking instead of as a substitute attic, Seal Beach might see an even greater reduction in larceny. (Not to mention increased parking space and higher property values.)

Will that happen? I know the police would appreciate it if citizens would leave valuables out of sight when they park their cars. I know police would appreciate it if citizens would lock their cars. Something tells me that if people don’t listen to the police, they are unlikely to listen to me.

Still, I pass the obvious, common sense, advice along in the forlorn hope that someday, somehow, I really will get to write the story: no crime to report. A man can dream, can’t he?

To the men and women of the Seal Beach Police Department:

Thank you. Thanks to the cops, the support personnel, the 9-1-1 dispatchers and the volunteers. You did Seal Beach proud last week.

I’m sure you’ve heard those words before and you’ll all likely hear them many more times in the days ahead. The thanks are richly deserved.

You all did your jobs exactly the way your work should be done.

I think I can safely say that Seal Beach is proud of you. And grateful.

The editor of the Sun said farewell to our retiring Police Chief Jeff Kirkpatrick with more eloquence than I ever could in the Thursday, June 9 edition. However, I had a slightly different relationship with Chief Kirkpatrick’s department than the editor did. Even before I was made an assistant editor and full time employee of the Sun, I wrote the Crime Log. That meant weekly dealings with three law enforcement agencies: Los Alamitos PD, OC Sheriff’s Department and Seal Beach PD. It has been  a positive experience, all in all.

Los Al PD, the OC Sheriff’s Department and Seal Beach are unique entities. All three are grand organizations, staffed by grand people. If there are less than ideal individuals in any of these institutions, I have not encountered them in six years.

That said, I must confess that the Seal Beach Police Department is my favorite of the three–not just because I live in Seal Beach (near the Rossmoor and Los Alamitos borders), but because individuals within these agencies have sometimes taken extra steps to help me do my job. They could have simply said they didn’t have the time. They obviously have more important things to do.  I remember commenting several years ago that I didn’t have a current copy of the California Penal Code. The public information officer at the time, then sergeant (now Lieutenant) Bob Mullins provided me with a copy. The current PIO, Sgt. Steve Bowles, has phoned or e-mailed me on weekends and on his days off in response to my questions. Capt. Tim Olson, Kirkpatrick’s second in command, was the first police PIO I worked with upon returning to journalism after a lengthy absence from the news business. It must have been like working with a rookie reporter for Capt. Olson. He graciously put up with me.

That’s professionalism and class, two things all too seldom seen in either the public or private sector these days. Those three men are but a reflection of the chief they served.

I seldom had direct dealings with Chief Kirkpatrick, but I could tell he cared for his people and the civilian community. On a couple of rare occasions, when no one else was able to help me, he took the extra step of helping me. Again, he had more important things to do.

When you don’t know a man well, the best way to judge him is either by looking at his family or his business. Well, I’ve had a chance to watch his business for a few years and can only say his successor will have a tough act to follow.

Thanks, chief. It was always a pleasure—and an honor.