Prevention Tips that will help you be less appealing to Car Prowling Thieves
With the long, cold days of winter now hopefully behind us, it’s time to start getting outside to enjoy the nice weather and sunshine. Deputy Chris Johnston and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office/Spokane Valley Police Crime Prevention Unit would like to take a moment to give you some tips about vehicle prowling prevention:
- Avoiding becoming the victim of a vehicle prowler starts before you even park and exit your vehicle! Upon arrival at your destination, choose a parking spot that is close to other people/ activities. If you won’t be returning until after dark, look for nearby lighting sources and try to keep your car well-lit.
- Before exiting your car, scan the area around you. Pay attention, and look for anything that seems out of place. Vehicle prowlers sometimes wait for others to park, then watch people as they leave their vehicle unattended and exit the area. Is someone loitering in the parking area unnecessarily, either on foot or in another nearby vehicle? If so, call Crime Check to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
- Be sure that all windows on your vehicle are all the way closed and doors are locked. It’s temping with hot temperatures to want to leave windows open for ventilation, but it’s attractive to would-be thieves.
- Vehicle security systems are an excellent theft deterrent. If your car did not come with a factory-installed security system, invest the money in having an aftermarket system installed. You can get a system with a “starter kill” relay for a little extra, which will also prevent your car from being stolen.
- Last but not least, don’t leave ANYTHING in your vehicle that you’re not willing to lose! Commonly stolen items include wallets, purses, tablets, GPS units, clothing, backpacks, garage door openers, etc. ANYTHING left in open view is a potential target for theft- loose change, charging/power cords, tools, etc. Thieves don’t care about the cost of repairing the damage they do to your car. Leaving these items at home or hiding them out of view will take away the invitation to break into your vehicle.
Also, don’t be a victim due to the “time excuse”. Frequently, victims of vehicle prowling report that they were “only gone for a few minutes”. It takes just a few seconds for a bad guy to break a window, enter your car, and take whatever you left there for them. Or worse, they might elect to steal your entire car.
Criminals generally try to find opportunities that make their criminal and selfish act easier. They are looking for easy targets that lessen their risk of being caught. Remind yourself of this fact. Make yourself a less appealing opportunity for thieves by keeping your vehicle more secure and your valuables out of sight.
Be safe, everyone!