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Crime Wave Prompts Police Patrols

Three thefts were reported in and around the high end shopping district in the past week.

Palm Desert police increased patrols today along El Paseo in response to a spike in theft-related crimes in the area, a sheriff’s lieutenant said.

“El Paseo has experienced about six commercial burglaries since the first of the year,’’ Palm Desert police Lt. Andrew Shouse said. “Typically, the M.O. has been window smash burglaries where the window has been smashed with a rock or other device.’’

In addition to upping patrols, officers from the Business District Team have stepped up their rounds, and are out on Segways and bicycles, Shouse said.

“We are taking steps on patrol to adjust our patrol staffing and patrol resources to focus on the El Paseo area,’’ he said, adding that the department is also using “other investigative tools.”

Business Owners Worried

Esther Q. Kuwaza, an owner of The Private Collection Consignment Luxe, said she’s concerned about the crime wave.

“It reminds us to be more alert and cautious,’’ Kuwaza said.

One shop owner did not want to disclose her name or business because she is afraid.

“I just hope this doesn’t happen to me,’’ the woman said. “I am afraid of making a comment on the situation and then get targeted next.”

She said she only found out this morning about the crimes that have been happening along her street.

String of Thefts

The most recent burglary was reported at 3:50 a.m. Monday at the at 73811 El Paseo, near Portola Avenue, Shouse said.

The thief smashed the window and grabbed $10,000 in purses before fleeing, the lieutenant said.

 No suspect information was released.

Several other thefts have been reported in the past weeks along El Paseo.

About 8 p.m. Sunday a man in his 20s snatched a woman’s purse as she was walking on Ocotillo Lane near El Paseo, the lieutenant said.

The suspect was about 20 years old, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and of medium build.

The man got into a vehicle, which was described as a dark-colored, lowered, sleek
vehicle with a partial plate of 1505 or 5105, or a similar combination of
numbers.

Only a week earlier in the same area, a Canadian tourist was bludgeoned in the head with a hammer during a carjacking and robbery behind the .

“Two Sundays in a row we’ve had people get robbed out there in that general vicinity,’’ he said, adding that the lighting is poor.

Protect Yourself

The lieutenant encouraged the public to protect themselves and “be vigilant and mindful of their surroundings.’’

“They should avoid parking in low lit areas,’’ Shouse said. “They should find parking spots that are well lit.”

He also asked women to be aware of their surroundings when waking to and from their vehicle and stores.

“Women should hold their purses under their arm, maintaining good control of them,’’ Shouse said.

Business owners can increase lighting in and around their stores and install surveillance equipment, he said.

“We encourage them to report any suspicious activity to the police immediately,’’ the lieutenant said.

A full list of crime prevention tips is available at the Palm Desert Police Department's website.

Anyone with information about any of these crimes was asked to call police at (760) 836-1600.

Charles Bennett Jr. August 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM
The Moneé Group is a Security and Public Safety consulting business. The Executive Director also writes a weekly column in The Desert Star Weekly on these matters. Contact us for information on how to protect your businesses and homes. www.themoneegroup.com or (760) 342-2977.

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