Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't leave items of value in your vehicle

The city’s North Patrol Division continues to experience a persistent problem of thefts from vehicles. Year-to-date, items stolen from vehicles comprise 26 percent of all reported crime in the division and 48 percent of all theft there. The most frustrating part about this is that almost all of these thefts could have been avoided. The key to prevention? Not leaving items in your car.

The most commonly stolen item is purses, and others often include cell phones, wallets, GPS devices and brief cases. Often the victims of these thefts think it’s OK to leave such items in plain view in their car because they’ve locked their doors. Someone who is going to steal your purse probably has few misgivings about breaking your window, as well. Then, think about the cascade effect: you have to pay to replace the window (and possibly the door frame if the thief tried to pry your car’s door open); the thief will likely use your credit cards, and it wouldn’t be unfair to assume you’ll be the victim of identity theft, as well.

Most of the time, police are unable to recover the stolen property (your chance of getting it back does increase if you’ve recorded the serial numbers of any items that have them – police can trace them if they end up in pawn shops). We expend a vast amount of investigative resources on crimes like these that have little chance of being solved and that most likely could have been prevented. If you must leave something of value in your car, put it in the trunk before you get to your destination.

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