Picture this; you go to get in your car and something just doesn’t seem right. A sudden rush of adrenaline hits you as you realize you’ve left your car unlocked! You do a quick inventory and discover things missing. That new laptop from work, the GPS unit, the checkbook! Unfortunately this scenario is all too common. You left your car unlocked just one time and someone stole your valuables.
Vehicle burglary is a very common kind of crime. It is a crime of opportunity for the thief. Many thieves wander through neighborhoods late at night checking the door handles on cars. Eventually they will find one unlocked and then they invade the owner’s privacy and steal their belongings. Many thieves can be in your car and out with your things in seconds.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimize your chances of being a victim. First, don’t keep valuable items in your car, especially not in plain sight. When a thief is looking for cars to burglarize, he is looking for a good score. If you have valuable items in plain sight he will be willing to take a bigger risk to get them. That means not only will he steal your things, he will break your window to get them. Don’t leave the GPS attached to the windshield. This is a beacon to thieves that this car is worth breaking into. Even if you can put things out of sight you should still not leave valuable items in the car. You might forget to lock your car. Don’t leave jewelry, checkbooks, Ipods, cell phones or any other small, valuable items in your car. Don’t leave the garage opener transmitter in your car.
Car alarms became very popular back in the 1980’s but almost as quickly, people started to ignore them due to false alarms. Today’s alarms are more sophisticated and reliable but are still not perfect. If you have an alarm you should use it but make sure it is adjusted so that it isn’t set off from passing vehicles or other small disturbances. If your alarm is set off check it out and if there is no problem reset it promptly.
Where you park can be important as well. Naturally, the garage is best as long as you keep it closed. If that is not an option, park your car where you can see it from a window of your home. If you cannot park your car in sight then choose a place where there is good light at night. You can also park in a place where you know a neighbor will be able to see it. It may not be possible to stop 100% of car burglaries from happening but with just a little effort we can prevent most of them.
Community Service Officer John Thomas is a long time resident of Temecula and is a Crime Prevention Officer with the Temecula Police Department Crime Prevention Unit. He can be reached at (951) 506-5132.