Preventing theft from vehicles

The recent rash of auto break-ins in the Review and Bulletin coverage area prompts the need to re-issue standard, law enforcement reminders: a variety of bad guys want your stuff - ID thieves, addicts, or just run of the mill prowlers.

Mike Salter of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department, repeats their proven advice: “Hide it, close it, lock it and light it.”

Hide valuables in your trunk before arriving at your destination, or better yet, take them with you.

Some thieves specialize in crimes of opportunity, just walking along, window shopping and trying door handles for a quick, noiseless entry. Lock your vehicle, even if it’s in your driveway.

A prowler favorite is the daycare center. The parent leaves a bag or purse on the seat, even leaving the vehicle unlocked and running, while they run in to drop or pick up their child.

Fitness clubs, commuter lots and dog parks are other favorites. The prowler watches you leave your vehicle and and knows he’s got some time to break in and steal you blind.

Own a hatchback? Carry a blanket or tarp in the vehicle to cover up valuables if you can’t take them with you.

Here are a few more tips from the experts:

Identity thieves not only look for purses and wallets, they’ll take your mail.

Underground garages aren’t necessarily secure. Lock your vehicle, and hide or take your possessions.

Park in well-lit, highly visible areas. The bad guys love the dark.

Park in high traffic areas. Prowlers hate witnesses.

Keep track of serial numbers on electronic items, you may recover them if they’re pawned.

Brand names are in demand, Nike, Oakley. Lululemon, Apple, Samsung, the list goes on. Stolen brand name merchandise can be easily and quickly sold online.

The purse on the passenger seat, even empty if it’s a Coach, Gucci or Vuitton, has a high resale value and for the prowler, it’s worth it to break a window. Hide it, or take it with you.

Occasionally a prowler will grab an empty bag, or as happened recently in Roseville, a diaper bag contained diapers, and they were dirty, but it still cost the victim $200 or more for the broken window.

If you see anything suspicious, authorities remind you to call 911.

And hide those possessions, or better yet, Salter says, “take them with you.”


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