"If you leave your car unlocked or your garage unlocked, you're fair game, you're giving them opportunity."
Those words from Lt. Dave Dresser of the Verona Police Department regarding thefts in his city.
Lt. Dresser said those simple mistakes result in easy pickings for crooks.
Crimes of opportunity have hit some Verona residents, with police reporting that theft is accounting for 84 percent of reportable crimes in the city.
Unlocked cars on Edward Street were among those hit this summer, with thieves easily making off with tools, gift cards, jewelry, and spare change.
While the number of auto break-ins is down this year compared to 2012, police say that the issue is still a glaring one and one that could easily be avoided.
"Otherwise, my officers have been very proactive during their patrols, and something that we've been doing that not all communities do is we alert residents when they leave their dome lights on in their car or they leave their garage door open," said Lt. Dresser. "Overall, the community has been very appreciative of our efforts."
Lt. Dresser also said his officers have been diligent about telling neighbors to lock up their belongings and also in making arrests in these cases.
Lt. Dresser said the offenders for these crimes vary: Some are teens who are bored and looking to make a quick buck, while some are drug users looking for cash to fuel their addictions, while still others are gang members possibly fulfilling initiation rituals.