String of break-ins affects popular trailheads in Bozeman

A car was broken into at Drinking Horse Trail in Bozeman over the weekend. (Photo: Ann Vorobetz)

It's something no hiker wants to see -- to come back from a hike in broad daylight and find their car's windows shattered, their belongings gone.

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust says, although they have no enforcement power, they've had three cases reported to them so far, the latest one occurring over the weekend at Drinking Horse Trail.

"It is possible that, because it's winter, the parking lots are not as populated, so it's an easier crime; but I think people should be aware of this all year-round -- things are changing here, and this is a growing community, so taking precautions is a good idea, no matter what," said EJ Porth, communications director at the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

They are recommending people always lock cars and hike with their valuables; if they're going to leave them in their car, make sure they're not visible.

"Pay attention at the parking lot, make sure you know who is around. If something looks fishy, take a picture or take a picture of a license plate," said Porth.

Still, Porth says they want to discourage people against being skeptical of their neighbor.

"That's just not how we do things here in Bozeman," she said.

She says, instead, they are encouraging people to say hello and make eye contact.

Do what we always do at trailheads, which is be a good neighbor and make people feel welcome, and then the people who are there to commit a crime might feel like: A -- you're a nice person and they shouldn't do it, and B -- that they've been seen and their face might be remembered," said Porth.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office reports two incidents of burglary on trailheads before Christmas and wants residents to report any other cases as soon as possible.

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