- Richard Garrett, the owner of BL Solutions, a local security company, reported an increase in crime in the auto mall since they began patrolling the area in June 2022.
- BPD did confirm thefts, burglaries, and stolen vehicles are the most typical crimes in the area, adding the department received about 118 calls for service in the area.
For some, the auto mall is the one-stop shop to purchase new cars or repair old ones, but once the doors close, some of these dealerships have been dealing with increased crime overnight
Catalytic converter thefts in June 2022 drove Richard Garrett, the CEO of BL Solutions, a local security company to begin working with car dealerships at the auto mall.
“We know that some people come into the auto mall to shop or look at cars to avoid the salesmen, Garrett said. "We understand that, but it’s not normal to see people come through and look at a BMW at 2 o’clock in the morning.”
He tells me while patrolling the area, the saw crime nearly eliminated.
“I mean you know as well as I do, you can put on a hooded sweatshirt and your COVID mask, walk onto a lot, and steal whatever you want. That camera does nothing, but the combination of the electric fences, the cameras, and having well-qualified boots-on-the-ground security guards is really what you need to be successful.”
But, he says in Fall 2023, the guards started to see suspicious activity increase in the morning, including a stolen car, attempted catalytic converter thefts, and stolen items from inside some cars.
“We have had problems with auto thefts in general in the city of Bakersfield, and it’s an issue that we deal with, and we have detectives out there and officers out there who are constantly working, ” Andrew Tipton with the Bakersfield Police Department said.
Although he says BPD haven’t seen an increase in calls of service to the area compared to this time last year, Garrett says his guards have seen a rise in suspicious activity.
Tipton did confirm thefts, burglaries, and stolen vehicles are the most typical crimes in the area, adding the department received about 118 calls for service in the area.
“We develop these partnerships where they know what it is we’re looking for and we’ve dealt with them so we’re comfortable with them and we can get things done effectively,” Tipton said.
Garrett says they work closely with the Bakersfield Police Department to address criminal activity and help the dealerships prevent desirable cars from being stolen.
“Our recommendation would be to park it in a certain location that’s covered with proper lighting, security cameras, and a physical location that would make it extremely difficult to drive it off of the lot,” Garrett said.
If you see suspicious activity around the auto mall, you can call the Bakersfield Police Department at 327-7111.
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