The warmer weather has left us for the time being, but there are still people out and about at night. A recent spike in thefts from motor vehicles in our community during the evening and overnight hours has provided inspiration for this month’s article.
Items taken in the vehicle break-ins include GPS devices, laptop computers, cellphones and other small items, not to mention cash. Almost every incident regarding past thefts of this nature involve an unlocked vehicle. In my 13 years with the department, I can’t remember the number of times I have heard victims say, “I have never had to lock my car!” Newburyport is a safe community, but we have our share of problems just like most other cities and towns.
The Los Angeles Police Department started a program called “Lock it, Hide it, Keep it,” which has been very effective in mobilizing the community in terms of alerting residents to secure their homes and vehicles to reduce the opportunities for thieves to steal from them. The program has three simple steps:
Lock it — Your vehicle’s locks and security systems are there for a very good reason. Simply lock your vehicle and home every time you are away. I have seen that on most, if not all, of the calls we receive concerning car break-ins, the vehicles were unlocked. Often, other vehicles that were locked near the ones broken into were not touched. It’s a very simple step that seems to make a huge difference. If it’s worth keeping, it’s worth safeguarding.
Hide it — If you must leave valuables in your vehicles, place them in the glove box, center console or trunk. Out of sight greatly diminishes the temptation to break in.
Keep it — It’s your stuff ... protect it! Small steps make a big difference.