No community, including Lakewood, is immune to crimes of opportunity such as vehicle burglaries. Eliminating the opportunity is the best defense against these types of crimes. Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself, courtesy of Lakewood’s crime prevention office.
- Don’t leave valuables in your car! Drivers/passengers leave items of value in plain view every day. If you leave valuable items visible in your car, your car is automatically a target.
- Record serial numbers of property you may leave inside your vehicle. If stolen, it makes it more likely the suspect, if he/she pawns the item, will be identified.
- Once home, unload your valuables immediately. Do not store valuables in your car any longer than necessary and certainly never overnight.
- Do not store wallets in the center console.
- Etch all detachable parts of your vehicle with the vehicle identification number.
- Remember that backpacks, laptop bags, and gift wrapped packages are inviting to thieves.
- While out, park in busy, well-lighted areas. While at home, park in your garage (if you have one).
- Back SUVs into stalls or up against a wall to avoid access to the rear hatch.
- Raise your windows and lock ALL of your vehicle’s doors, even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time. All too frequently, items are stolen from unlocked vehicles where the owner expected to be away for “just a second.” Thieves often target vehicles at gas stations, convenience stores, or parents dropping their children off at daycare centers and schools.
- If you park your vehicle in your locked garage, don’t take any chances by leaving your vehicle unlocked. Be sure to take all valuables out of your vehicle and lock the doors.
- Set any alarm or anti-theft device. If you have one, use it! Many people believe that car alarms no longer make a difference, but they can be an effective deterrent to an auto burglar.
If your vehicle is burglarized, remember the following:
- As soon as you notice your vehicle has been burglarized, do not touch/adjust anything in, on or around the car. As soon as possible, call the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred to report the incident.
- If you see unusual or suspicious activity, report it immediately.
- As always, report a crime in progress by calling 9-1-1.