Turn up the H.E.A.T.(Help Eliminate Auto Theft). If you have information regarding a stolen vehicle, suspected car thieves or chop shop activities, please call our anonymous tip line at 574-LMPD (5673).
Several crimes in our community involve thefts from automobiles. Automobiles involve target opportunities for criminals as vehicles are relatively easy to get into by even the most inexperienced criminal.
You will have to make a conscious decision that you are going to do everything in your power to stop your vehicle from being broken into. As demonstrated by the photograph, simply locking your vehicle is not enough. A glass window is not going to keep a criminal, desperate for cash, away from your GPS, cell phone or other valuables left in plain view inside your vehicle.
First Step - Locking your vehicle is essential. If a criminal has to choose between a door that is locked and one that is unlocked, he/she is going to go the the unlocked vehicular door. Unfortunately, people who routinely commit thefts from automobiles typically do not have to look very long. Approximately half of reported thefts from automobiles in your community involve a vehicle that was left unlocked. Leaving unlocked vehicles at service stations is another bad example of making yourself a target for a crime, especially if the vehicle is left running.
Second Step - Leaving a vehicle running at your home, or even for a quick stop, is not only a bad idea, as experienced criminals typically profile this type of activity, but it is also against the law. It is not uncommon for teams of would-be car thieves to patrol through neighborhoods or stake out convenient stores, looking for running, unlocked or unattended vehicles. Your vehicle is ready to be driven away with your personal affects, even your identity, which could costs you thousands of dollars in the future.
Step Three - You can minimize your chances of being a victim of a theft from your automobile by taking your valuables, or any sign of valuables, inside or locking them in the trunk. In addition to removing your GPS system or cell phone, you should also take, or at least conceal, chargers and mounts which serve as tell-tale signs that these items are sometimes in your vehicle. Someone could break into your vehicle on the chance that items that go with the mounts or chargers are simply out of view. They could also keep an eye on your vehicle and try to target you at a later date when the items are left in the vehicle. Again, a locked door and a glass window will not keep someone from getting to your valuables.
Removing electronics or other valuables every time you leave your vehicle is an inconvenience, but you will have to take extra steps to be extra safe. Practicing diligence is a sure way to begin making your home and personal property safer. When you look into your vehicle, you may see a GPS system, Blackberry, personal computer or any number of today's gadgets designed to make your life easier. A criminal sees only one thing - MONEY. On that note, leaving any amount of money in your vehicle eliminates one more thing a criminal has to do to get the money he/she needs (i.e. selling your stuff) to someone for about a quarter of its actual value. Even in a crowded area, a thief can be in and out of your vehicle before anyone realizes what has happened, that is until you come back to your vehicle and realize you have been the victim of a crime.
Lastly, leaving a garage door opener inside your car is an invitation for a criminal to gain access to your garage and even your home. Police have responded to burglaries that originated by the burglar gaining access to a locked home via the garage door opener left in the unlocked vehicle. It may take some time to get into the habit of not making your car a target, but your property and, more importantly your safety, may depend on it.
For more information on auto thefts, click on one of the links below:
Tips on Preventing Auto Theft and Theft from Auto
Spotting Stolen Automobiles
Personal Safety in your Car
Helping Police Recover your Stolen Vehicle
For more information on preventing auto theft, please visit the following websites:
National Insurance Crime Bureau
Watch Your Car