Police increase patrols after rash of thefts

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, April 8, 2015

After responding to more than 30 incidents since the weekend where residents had left their cars unlocked and returned later to find them ransacked and in some cases had items stolen, police are reminding citizens of basic safety tips they can use to avoid becoming a victim.

“We can all drastically reduce the chance of becoming a victim of crime if we would stop leaving our valuables inside our vehicles and (start) locking our vehicles,” city spokeswoman Diana Klink said on Wednesday.

Leaving items in plain sight and leaving doors unlocked are “open invitations to opportunistic criminals,” Klink added.

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Overnight on Tuesday, an additional 14 tampering with vehicle incidents were reported, Klink said. In most cases, nothing was taken, but stolen items included a wallet, iPod, camera, cellphone charger, a small change purse and even a candy bar. The thief or thieves also attempted to remove the radio from the dashboard in one vehicle, Klink said.

Those incidents add to ones reported over the weekend, where stolen items included a cellphone charger, an iPad and a CD.

Klink said police have increased patrols. Police also are urging residents to lock their vehicle doors to carry valuables inside to prevent becoming a victim.

“If they can see it, they can steal it,” Klink said. “It only takes a few seconds to prevent yourself from having to deal with the aftermath.”

She said the police department “is happy to know that people feel secure in their neighborhoods” but added that a proliferation of unlocked doors could encourage possible future crime in the neighborhood after word gets around.

Klink encouraged residents to be vigilant and call police with any tip, no matter how smell.

“It could be that one little tip they need to locate the folks that are doing this,” she said.

Other safety tips Klink gave include:

  • Place your vehicle in the garage, if you have a garage
  • Remove all items of value when you’re not driving, including purses, wallets, laptops, phones, GPS devices and others
  • Place valuable items in your trunk prior to reaching your destination, if you must leave them in your car
  • Take removable radios and faceplates with you
  • Don’t simply cover your valuables with a coat
  • Engrave expensive accessories — it likely won’t deter theft but can help get your item back to you and track down the thief if it is stolen
  • Don’t leave your registration in your car — if a criminal finds it and is able to steal a house key or garage door opener from your car, he now has your address and access to your home