By Jim Hardy, NPU-F Public Safety Coordinator
Our neighborhoods are continuing to experience numerous thefts from vehicles. Several of the vehicles were parked in the same general area, probably indicating gang activity. Police reports indicate that in many instances the vehicles were left unlocked or with windows partially open. In even more cases, items stolen were left inside the vehicles in plain sight. More alarmingly, in a number of instances weapons were also reported stolen from the vehicles.
While good investigations, increased police presence and increased video coverage of parking lots have been successful in capturing a number of the thieves, many of the thefts were preventable. Vehicle owners can help prevent these thefts using a few common sense rules.
- Choose your parking place carefully. The safest spots are usually well-lit, with lots of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, with video coverage, and not adjacent to a parking lot exit.
- Remove all valuables from sight in the vehicle (laptops, tablets, cell phones, purses, etc),
- Remove from sight all backpacks, briefcases, gym bags, etc. Even bags which don’t contain valuables will attract thieves.
- Lock valuables and bags in the trunk before you get to the parking place.
- Remove all charger cords, GPS and GPS mounts. These things indicate you may have valuables hidden in your vehicle.
- Do not leave weapons in your vehicle, unless locked in a safe in your trunk.
- Make sure all windows are closed.
- Lock your car and insure the alarm is on.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for anyone watching you.
- Immediately notify the police if you do experience a theft from your vehicle.
- Also notify the company that owns the parking lot.
Crime Prevention is not just a police responsibility. We all share that responsibility. A number of insurance companies recognize vehicle owners/drivers responsibility to help prevent thefts from vehicles. Those insurers will not pay claims if the owner/driver did not properly secure their vehicle and its contents.