The City of West Branch has recently experienced a criminal phenomenon that has never happened before in our community. This criminal activity commonly referred to as ‘car shopping’ has already plagued other neighboring communities both large and small. Unfortunately, this type of activity will probably not go away with our close proximity to I-80 and this makes our community very vulnerable.
We are asking the community to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity. If you see suspicious persons don’t confront them yourself, call 911 or Cedar County Dispatch at 563-886-2121 and West Branch Police will be notified. For non-emergencies, call 643-2222.
The crimes committed on Sunday 10-15-2017 were committed by at least four people on foot with unknown number of support vehicles or look out vehicles. These people came from outside our community.
As a result of this criminal activity, the West Branch Police are actively:
- Reviewing surveillance videos from area businesses
- Reviewing evidence and working with the DCI Lab and other outside agencies
- Increasing patrols and after hour traffic stops.
- Enforcing the curfew for minors as a safety pre-caution (see Chapter 46 of the West Branch Code of Ordinances)
- Sunday – Thursday 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
- Friday and Saturday 12:00 midnight to 5:00 a.m.
Here are some guidelines:
- Lock your vehicle, house and your garage door
- Have house numbers marked clearly
- Don’t leave valuable items visible from the outside of the vehicle (including extra key fobs)
- Use motion lights
- Try to park in well lighted areas
- If you don’t take valuables inside, put them in the trunk. (purses, billfolds, cameras,etc.)
- If you hide keys don’t keep them in typical locations
- Never store unattended firearms in a vehicle
- Inventory valuables (by make model and serial numbers.) Use a digital camera and keep the SD card in a safe, separate location
- Be careful what you post on social media (personal information, checking – in, photos, etc)
- The West Branch PD would also recommend video cameras for area businesses
When on going on vacation
- Notify neighbors that you trust to watch your house (with emergency call numbers)
- Call the West Branch Police Dept.to be put on a vacation list – (phone 643-2222)
- Use inside light timers
- Make arrangements for mail, newspapers, and mowing.
- Be careful what you post on social media (photos, checking –in, etc)