SPD offers tips for avoiding vehicle break-ins

Car ThiefSouthington has experienced a rash of vehicle break-ins over the past few months. While officers are diligently working to solve this problem, the Southington Police Department issued a press release to remind residents that there are things to do in order to prevent these crimes:

  • Lock your doors. While this piece of advice should be a “no-brainer,” up to a quarter of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars, according to some law enforcement agencies. Even if you’re just running into the store for a quick visit, it’s too long to leave your vehicle’s contents open for the taking. Simply locking the doors will deter those who might just be waiting around for an easy target.
  • Keep it tidy. Almost any worthless personal item that’s visible from the outside—even an empty shopping bag—could be seen as a valuable or a carrier of valuables. If you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area on display, consider getting a cover. Most of these vehicles can be fitted with inexpensive retractable covers to help keep shopping bags or other belongings out of sight.
  • Conceal all the evidence. Don’t leave anything in clear view for thieves. Stow electronics and accessories well out of sight—or better yet, bring it with you. The evidence alone might be enough to pique the interest of thieves, so hide that too. Power plugs, iPod adapters, or navigation system windshield suction cup mounts should be out of sight. Even putting the cigarette lighter back in place could deter thieves.
  • Stash before—not after—you park. Get in the habit of putting shopping bags in the trunk when you return to the vehicle, rather than after you park at the next place. According to National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) spokesman Frank Scafidi, thieves sometimes linger in busy parking lots, looking for valuables being moved out of sight. Don’t display to them what you have.
  • Completely close windows and sunroofs. No, it’s not just because thieves might reach in through the gap and open your locks with a coat hanger. Open windows will disable the pressure sensor in some car alarms, leaving the vehicle more vulnerable to break-in and potentially giving thieves more time before the alarm sounds
  • Park for visibility. Park in a busy, well-lit area, and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage. Except for the most brazen thieves, the greater the chances are that someone might see a crime in progress, the lower the chances are that the potential thief will attempt it.
  • Layer your defenses. That’s the strategy recommended by the NICB. Layers include warning devices such as alarms, wheel etching, or decals; immobilizers; and even tracking systems. “None of them are foolproof, but if they’re used in tandem they can really keep the chances down,” said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, in a recent press release.
  • Keep a look-out. Residents are urged to report anything or anyone that looks suspicious in your neighborhood. Call the Southington Police at (860) 621-0101

Sources: The National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Insurance Information Institute, Progressive, and AAA.

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