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Stay vigilant to prevent auto theft

Stay vigilant to prevent auto theft

While home burglaries are down since the COVID-19 pandemic began, auto thefts are up.

Most vehicle break-ins are crimes of opportunity because vehicles are left unlocked and items of value are left inside.

It is a common practice for thieves to walk neighborhood streets late at night checking doors of vehicles to see if they are unlocked. Once they find a vehicle that is unlocked, it is only a matter of seconds before valuables are taken, or the vehicle itself is stolen.

Many vehicles are a target for criminals when selecting a vehicle to burglarize or steal, such as:

• Older model vehicles because they are usually easier to break into and often do not have an alarm system installed.
• ‘Work truck’ vehicles are favorites of thieves looking to steal tools and equipment.
• SUVs are a target for thefts of third-row backseats and catalytic converters.
• Trucks are targets for their tailgates.

Make sure to harden your vehicle against theft by following these tips:

• Make sure every door is locked, every window is rolled up, and the alarm is set before you walk away. Take extra care to check your sunroof and tailgate.
• Never leave your key inside the vehicle, even if it is not in plain sight.
• Never leave your vehicle running or unattended.
• Park in well-lit areas when possible.
• Never leave valuables in your vehicle. Loose change and phone chargers are enough for a thief to consider breaking into your vehicle.

If you see anything suspicious or unusual in your neighborhood call the Lakewood Sheriff's Station to report the activity at 562-623-3500. If you see a burglary in progress, always call 9-1-1.

Please share this information with your family, friends and neighbors. It will take everyone looking out for one another for us to prevent crimes of opportunities from happening on our streets. If you notice a neighbor has left their vehicle unlocked or their windows rolled down, help them out by letting them know. You could be preventing them from experiencing an unfortunate situation, just by being a good neighbor and friend.