Weekly Feature

2018-11-08 / Bee Heard

Bee Editorial

Locking car doors should be second nature

It's no secret that many who move to the suburbs do so to gain a semblance of tranquility and the peace of mind associated with being away from the crowded, congested streets of the city. Yet, with this kind of serenity, there are those homeowners who seem to be lulled into a false sense of security.

Each week, the Orchard Park Police Department responds to multiple reports of theft in Orchard Park due to items being taken from unlocked vehicles. Just because a vehicle is parked in a driveway by no means indicates that it is impervious to thieves.

Warnings have been issued numerous times, but it seems like many drivers are either absentminded or naively assume that their neighborhoods are safe enough to forgo locking their cars.

If you’re the type of person who has read about other people losing iPods, GPSs, money and other items to theft from vehicles but have assumed you’ll be fine because it’s never happened to you, don’t get too comfortable. You could be the next victim.

To reduce the likelihood of being part of the next batch of thefts, follow the very simple rules that police reiterate every time an unlocked car is ransacked:

Lock your vehicle. This cannot be understated. Even if you think you live in a safe neighborhood and that your neighbors would never stoop to a crime of convenience like this, never leave your vehicle unlocked. In many cases, the thief will simply try the door handle and walk away if the car is locked. Locks are deterrents. And they work.

Never leave valuables in plain sight. If your purse, laptop or iPod is sitting on the front seat in plain view of anyone who happens to walk past your vehicle, someone is going to get the idea to reach in and snatch it. But if the seats are empty and no valuables are visible from outside the car, that would-be thief will most likely keep on walking.

Whenever possible, park in a brightly lit area. Shadows create prime havens for such thefts.

Of course, break-ins happen, and no one can deter a thief dead set on pillaging your vehicle. But taking simple steps to keep it guarded will prevent crimes of opportunity.

About $5.9 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft — the vehicles themselves and items inside — in 2016, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,680.

There are instances in which vehicle theft cannot be prevented, but that doesn’t mean that homeowners should make it easier on criminals. In short, lock it up.

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