Estepp offers tips on preventing thefts from your vehicle

By Holly Estepp - Vandalia Division of Police - Crime Prevention Officer

VANDALIA — In the first three months of 2017 the Vandalia Division of Police has taken numerous theft complaints from unlocked vehicles. Many were reported hours after they have occurred. While we have made several arrests, many of these thefts will remain unsolved because there was no evidence or witnesses to the theft.

For a criminal, the perfect crime is one that takes only seconds to complete and has a minimal chance of drawing unwanted attention. For these reasons, thefts from a vehicle are one of the most common crimes reported.

A thief can simply walk down a residential street in the very early morning looking into parked cars. When he finds an unlocked door, he opens it and takes a look inside. Another parked car nearby might have a window rolled down with a GPS or I-pod on the front seat.

The next car he looks at has its window rolled down. He looks in and finds $5.00 in change and cellphone lying on the front seat. He reaches in and in a matter of seconds the items are gone.

The next car that is unlocked has the ignition key in it. He opens the door and hops in. The thief now has a ride to another neighborhood to continue his spree.

The best way to beat a thief is to make their job harder and more time consuming. The longer it takes a thief to commit a theft, the more likely they will be discovered. For that reason, crooks will typically bypass a locked car in search of an easier target.

To avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime, take some simple steps to make your vehicle less attractive to a bad guy. A thief is always looking for an easy way to make money. They look for targets of opportunity that they feel they can get away with. A thief never wants to get caught so they look for things like unlocked car doors.

The following list is some ways to make a thief’s job much harder and riskier:

  • Lock your motor vehicle. Most thieves will only enter an unlocked vehicle.
  • Make sure all the vehicle windows are rolled-up and secured.
  • DO NOT leave your keys in the vehicle.
  • If you MUST leave valuables in the vehicle, hide them in the trunk.
  • DO NOT leave your wallet or purse in an unattended vehicle.
  • Keep the front porch light lit at night if your car is parked in front of your house.
  • Report any suspicious persons or vehicles to the police immediately.

You can combat theft, if you take a few preventive steps that will make the job of being a thief more difficult. photo

By Holly Estepp

Vandalia Division of Police

Crime Prevention Officer

Reach the Vandalia Division of Police at 937-898-5868.

Reach the Vandalia Division of Police at 937-898-5868.