A chunk of glass in the concrete shocked her.

The Victim: Ray Betten
The Crime: Burglary of a motor vehicle
Date: Thursday, Sept. 22
Time: Between 8 p.m. and 6:50 a.m.
Location: 6800 block of Greenwich

Ray Batten and his wife learned their lesson about crime prevention when they moved into their home several years ago. A bicycle was stolen from the couple’s garage the first week they moved in, after a criminal crawled through an unlocked window.

Since then, the Battens make sure all doors and windows are locked and never leave anything in their cars. That preemptive thinking paid off recently when they were again targeted by a thief looking for an easy score.

“I was out of town in California for business,” Ray Batten says. “My wife came out early in the morning around 6:30 because she had an early appointment. She found the driver’s side window had been completely smashed, and somebody had rifled through the pick-up.”

The car had been parked in the family’s driveway, just off the alley. Luckily, because the Battens had been victimized before, the criminal came up virtually empty in this vehicle burglary. The criminal stole just a couple of tools, but nothing of any real value, Batten says.

“There were no valuables, no cameras, no computers,” he says. “The thing that bothered me the most was that it scared my wife. She was pretty upset. We’re now parking both cars in the garage.”

Despite the crime, the Battens are maintaining a positive outlook, and know that things could have been worse had they accidentally left valuables in their truck.

“This is a great neighborhood,” he says. “We love it here.”

Dallas Police Lt. Richard Dwyer of the North Central Patrol Division says it’s important to take every precaution, but ultimately anyone can still become a crime victim.

“Sometimes, you hate to say it, but crime does happen even to those that take reasonable precautions. Luckily, it appears by this couple taking these steps, they may have minimized their loss,” he says. “When people leave their wallet or purse in the car and it gets stolen, the biggest headaches they complain about are getting a new driver’s license and cancelling their credit cards then getting new ones issued. That lag time can affect their ability to pay bills and make needed purchases. Also, if house keys are taken out of the car, they have to replace the door locks, which is time-consuming.”

The best practice is to keep those valuables out of the car so that criminals will look elsewhere, Dwyer says.

Question of the month

The Dallas Morning News recently released an interactive map showing pockets of the city where people are most likely to be a victim of a crime. Preston Hollow is the only neighborhood without any high-crime areas. According to the map, it’s clean as a whistle. Why is that?

The two primary hot spots for the North Central Division [both north of LBJ] have a significant number of aging apartment complexes. This heavy concentration of people and vehicles provides opportunities for criminals to commit offenses. The North Central Division utilizes a variety of equipment such the sky tower and bait vehicles to combat these problems. Most of the [Preston Hollow] area is single-family housing. Additionally, many homeowners are able to afford to invest in personal safety equipment. Officers are also assigned to patrol the area to prevent crime problems and work with the neighborhoods to form and maintain crime watch and Volunteers In Patrol groups.  —Jesse Reyes, North Central Division Police Chief