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Sep 10

Heading to the Gym? Take Only the Essentials

Posted on September 10, 2018 at 5:14 PM by Deputy Aaron Scheller

A thief enters a gym dressed in workout gear and carrying a sports bag. He looks as if he belongs, blends in with the crowd, and walks confidently and purposefully. No one questions why he is entering the locker room.

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Once inside, he finds an area where people are not around and swiftly opens a few of the lockers. He finds most are empty, but a few contain possessions that include wallets, car keys, money clips, and credit cards. He snatches the valuables and sticks them in his sports bag, casually walks out of the locker, and makes his way out the front door of the gym. Pressing a button on a set of keys he took from one of the lockers, he locates the car with the blaring horn and flashing lists, hops in and drives away.

Unbelievable, right? Actually, it’s more common than you think. Many gymgoers fail to lock their lockers, and of those who do, a great percentage use flimsy combination locks or single notch locks that can be easily decoded, popped open, picked or cut.

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Criminals know to target gyms because they know the odds are in their favor. They know that in a setting with a large group of people, they are bound to find a few individuals who fail to properly look after or secure their belongings. They are good at studying behavior, and they start their observations in the parking lot. They know that if they are patient and observant, predictably someone will arrive and in a haste and leave their valuables inside their cars in plain sight. Since the typical length of time spent at a gym is 30 to 45 minutes, a thief knows to wait a few minutes after the individual has gone inside, and then walk over and peer inside their car to see if he spots anything of value.

In other instances, individuals do remember to hide their valuables either under their car seat or inside their trunk; however, they do so on in the gym parking lot. If a criminal is performing the “patiently waiting and observing” part, chances are he is taking notice, and now knows exactly which car to target and where he will find the valuables.

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If you are one of those individuals who heads to the gym right after leaving work, and therefore have valuables with you such as a wallet, purse or jewelry item, secure them in your trunk, but do so in a safe area away from the gym parking lot. Another option is to bring them inside the gym with you and secure them inside a locker, but be sure to bring your own extra sturdy padlock. An even better option is to keep your valuables on your person. Visit any store and online retailer that carries gym-related products and you will find numerous accessories, ranging from running belts to shoe pouches, to keep your valuables secure and close to you at all times.

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As always, thanks for subscribing to Safety Speak. Leaflets with safety tips, including one about gym theft prevention, can be found on the Let's Talk Public Safety page of the City website. I encourage to download them, read them, and share them with family members and friends.

Also, if you have any public safety-related questions or concerns you want to share with the City or the Diamond Bar-Walnut Sheriff's Department, or if you have suggestions for topics to cover in this blog, be sure to let me know using the Ask a Deputy feature.