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Corona del Mar Today: Triplets are 'Swagger Wagon' sensations

August 21, 2010

So far, the curfew detentions appear to be working, according to look at recent crime statistics.

From Aug. 1 to 15, police took reports of 13 burglaries or thefts from vehicles compared with 37 reports during the same days in July.

For all of July, police took 67 reports, down from 91 in May, said Andi Querry, crime prevention specialist for the Newport Beach Police Department.

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In the first 15 days of August, officers made 26 curfew detentions, she said.

Newport Beach municipal code states that no one under the age of 18 should "loiter or idle in or upon the public streets, alleys, parks, playgrounds or other public places, vacant lots or other unsupervised places" between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

"We have great discretion," McKnight said. "We aren't going to bother a 17-year-old couple having a malt at Ruby's after a show."

But the curfew laws allow police to target juveniles who gather on Newport Beach streets for the single purpose of "car hopping."

"They go on Facebook and say, 'Let's go car hopping in Newport tonight,'" Querry said. "Everybody's doing it now."

Car hopping is when thieves walk down the street, flicking door handles on doors to see which are unlocked.

"If they find one open, that's what they are taking," McKnight said. Juveniles can make up to $1,000 in one night, police said.

Car hoppers generally are not arriving from outside the community but rather are local kids, Querry added.

Police said that you should always remove valuables from your vehicle, or put things in your trunk before you arrive at your destination and could be observed. If possible, you should park in a locked garage, and you should always lock your car doors.

Police also urge you to call them if you see suspicious activities.

Last month, police say a Corona del Mar resident's call about a car alarm led to the arrests of five juveniles and one 18-year-old person in connection with vehicle thefts on Orchid Avenue.

Also last month a Corona del Mar man interrupted a thief breaking into his car on Jasmine Avenue, and police later arrested five people in connection with that crime.

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