Police acknowledge that when schools dismiss for the summer, mischievous and criminal activity typically increase. One activity that is becoming more common is referred to as "power boxing."
One such incident was reported in Sun City Sunday night. The resident told Menifee 24/7 that the home's power went out about 11:30 p.m. A check outside the property showed that the door to the electrical panel was open and the circuit break had been shut off. No one was in sight.
The resident said she called police and suggested that neighbors put locks on the cover of their outside electrical panel. Lt. Charlie Wilhite of the Menifee Police Department said this is a good idea.
"We recommend a padlock on the cover," Wilhite said. "If Edison needs to get in, they can get in through the bottom panel.
"We have received a few of these calls about power boxing, but not an extraordinary amount recently. Of course, being summer, these types of things go up. School is out and teenagers stay out later."
Wilhite said there have been reports in other cities of thieves turning off a resident's power, then accosting the occupants when they come outside to check and robbing the house. He said he can't recall that type of assault or robbery happening in Menifee, although one is never sure what the suspect's intent is when no one is found outside.
"I'd say 99 percent of the time, it's kids," Wilhite said. "They turn off the master breaker and run away. It's kind of like "ding dong ditch."
Wilhite recommends that in addition to locking the electrical panel, residents stay inside if the power goes out and call Southern California Edison to find out whether it is a system-wide outage. He cautions that if residents see or hear anything suspicious, stay inside and call police.