Challenge: Lock your doors

Published 9:55 pm Monday, August 20, 2018

The Suffolk Police Department responded to the challenge. Now it’s your turn.

After its successful response to the Lip Sync Challenge, the Suffolk Police Department decided to parlay the large, positive reception to its video into yet another video, this one a challenge to the community.

The Suffolk Police Department is challenging its community to “Lock It, Don’t Lose It.”

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Thefts from vehicles left unlocked are a major problem in Suffolk. No, they’re not a violent crime, but they take up valuable time of police officers filing reports, cause frustration for citizens and attract criminals to skulk around our neighborhoods at night.

All of it can be prevented by folks simply locking their car doors.

It’s among the simplest of crimes, and it’s a crime of opportunity. The criminals simply walk down a neighborhood street in the early morning hours when nobody is likely to be out and about. They pull on car doors and find one that’s unlocked and rummage through it for valuables.

The thefts become serious and potentially deadly when firearms are stolen. Other valuables like laptops, smartphones, tablets, money, credit cards, jewelry and identification are also frequently stolen. When car keys are left inside the vehicle, the car itself is often stolen and dumped in another city.

If that weren’t bad enough, house keys or garage door openers left inside the car can allow criminals entry to homes, which can be dangerous for the occupants and allow more belongings to be stolen.

It’s hard to make arrests because the victims usually don’t realize it until hours after the fact. On the rare occasions an alert night owl has been able to call police, the group can split up and run in any number of directions, making it hard to apprehend all of them.

When the Suffolk Police Department has made arrests for this crime in the past, the culprits are almost always juveniles or young adults from other nearby cities. Suffolk doesn’t want to be known as the sleepy little town where it’s easy to come and victimize unsuspecting folks, but it seems the message is out there.

So, Suffolkians, let’s team up and send a different message. Send a message that Suffolk is a place where people feel safe in their neighborhoods, but that doesn’t mean they simply leave their doors unlocked because they can. It’s because they have taken steps to prevent crime happening in their neighborhood.