Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Theft from Auto Prevention Tips from MPD First District Commander

Here's another round of good crime prevention advice from the new MPD First District Commander Daniel Hickson. 

One of the most common types of theft is theft of valuables from your automobile. Theft from auto is primarily a crime of opportunity that can often be prevented if you take away the opportunity. Thieves generally won’t waste their time breaking into autos that don’t have valuables in plain sight. Of course there are those, including one of our 1D serial thieves, who will break into every car on a block when they hit.
  • The best way to prevent theft from your auto is to always keep valuables “outta sight.” Never leave cell phones, briefcases, suitcases, or small electronic devices (personal music devices, digital assistants, etc.) in your car in plain view. Take theses items with you, or secure them — all the time, every time!
  • A valuable that is targeted by thieves is GPS systems. Remember to not only remove the GPS when you park, but also remove the mounting system, i.e. suction cup holder. Thieves will assume that the GPS is in the glove box when they see an empty mounting device.
  • If your car has a trunk, use it. Put valuables in there or in a locked glove compartment. Hiding items under seats is better than leaving them in plain view, but securing them inside the glove compartment or trunk is a far better deterrent.
  • While having nothing of value in your car will deter break-ins, you may also want to leave your empty glove box or any other visible compartment open to show the thieves that there is nothing to steal.
  • During the holiday season especially, or any time you’re shopping, place packages in the trunk, not on the passenger seats or floors.
  • Look for car radios or other sound systems that can operate only in the vehicle it was originally installed in. This reduces the risk of theft.
  • If you can unfasten your sound system and take it with you, or lock it in your trunk, do so. And don’t forget to do the same with your CDs and tapes.
  • Also, keep your car doors and windows locked — all the time!
  • Report suspicious activity while it is happening. This could save you or your neighbor from being victimized. Call 9-1-1 and stay on the line if you see or hear something that seems unusual or suspicious. Try to get a description of the suspects and their vehicle, and do not confront suspects. Don’t think you are bothering the police by calling them to report suspicious activity. It’s their job to detect and apprehend criminals, and they need your help because they can’t be in everyone’s neighborhood 24 hours a day.
The easiest tip of all is to LOCK your car. There are several known serial thieves who operate in First District and whom we have arrested multiple times. One of these individuals only commits thefts from unlocked cars; it is amazing how many he finds not secured. Recently my wife and I were driving in our neighborhood in the city when we observed two subjects committing thefts from autos and I was able to call on-duty units to assist me stop and arrest the suspects. These two were only stealing from unlocked cars and when they were arrested, they had about 10 GPS systems in their backpack.
Commander Daniel Hickson
Metropolitan Police Department
First District

1 comment:

  1. I hate this blame the victim first mentality that MPD has.

    You know what would be a great deterrent to auto break-ins. Arresting the perpetrators! Maybe the MPD could try to put more effort into the investigation than just writing a report.