Tis the season, for love, peace and good will. Unfortunately, it’s also a season in which some “shop” others’ unlocked vehicles for personal gain – taking Christmas presents and valuable items left in other’s vehicles. Thus, Sulphur Springs Police Department Chief Jason Ricketson reminds everyone to secure their belongings and lock their vehicle doors when exiting them.
“Don’t be an easy target. Help us help you by hiding your things, locking your vehicle doors, taking your keys with you,” Ricketson said. “Vehicle burglary is one of the most easily preventable crimes but often one of the hardest to prove. Don’t be a victim.”
Ricketson said SSPD has not had any reports of people’s cars being broken into, and your local law enforcement would like to keep it that way. This is, however, a time of year in which vehicle burglaries rise. Each motorist and passenger can do his or her part to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a vehicle burglary.
Many will be out shopping for just Christmas gifts for their loved ones and friends. Unfortunately, a few others also take advantage of others’ distraction, going through parking lots and residential areas, in town and in the country, trying doors for unlocked vehicles.
Those readily opened autos are easy pickings for would-be car burglars. Items are easily accessed and removed. It generally takes thieves seconds to pull at a door handle to see if it’s unlocked, then a moment or two to snatch any valuables inside and abscond with them. Ricketson reminds people to lock their vehicles doors when they exit them, regardless of where they are going or for how long.
Vehicle burglars also are known to target vehicles where pricy or easily pawnable items are clearly visible. Removing valuables from vehicles, or securing and storing them out-of-site to passersby held reduce the potential of the auto becoming a target for criminal activity.
Ricketson reminds people it’s never a good idea to leave valuables such as purses, wallets, checkbooks, jewelry or cash in unattended vehicles. When items must be left in vehicles, put them under seats, in the trunk, in closed compartments or other covered areas where they cannot be seen by anyone walking in the area. And, be sure to lock the car when leaving it.
When shopping for Christmas presents, don’t leave visible items inside your car or truck while you go in a restaurant to eat or visit another store, if possible. Conceal and stow parcels in a trunk, if possible, or covering giftbags, packages, store bags and other items out-of-site, so they do on attract attention.
Also, be sure to remove keys from vehicles when exiting them – even at home – so that others won’t be able to drive off in your ride.
If anyone witnesses what appears to be a vehicle burglary or other suspicious activity, they are encouraged to call their local law enforcement agency or, if witnessing a crime in progress, call 911.