Tips for preventing car burglaries

In this third in a series of public safety issue articles, we look at vehicle burglaries.

Lieutenant Warren Foster of the Springville Police Department said this is the time of year when the number of vehicle break-ins skyrockets.

He and his coworkers get many emails sent out to the department every summer reminding them the proper procedures for locking up cars.

There has been a rash of burglaries during the daytime, especially. And during the nighttime, thieves are less afraid to bust windshields.

Foster says some of the most popular items stolen from cars in this area are: guns, laptops, cellular devices and high-dollar tools.

Because people sometimes have to use their vehicles as their offices (such as construction workers), Foster understands it’s not always possible to remove valuables from your vehicle every time you exit. But, he says, “Do your best to conceal what you have to store.”

As Foster reminds us, there are three parts to every crime: the perpetrator, the victim and the opportunity. The only thing we can control is the opportunity, so getting rid of that will help a lot.

First and foremost, lock your doors. This seems so obvious, but many thefts take place in unlocked cars.

Get a car alarm if your car didn’t come with one, and be sure to enable it. Even just the sound of the alarm going off could be enough to deter people from breaking in.

Keep your vehicle’s interior tidy and don’t leave things, even trash, lying around. What may simply be an empty grocery bag on the floor of your car may be enough to tempt thieves to break in in the hopes of there being something valuable inside that bag.

And speaking of shopping bags, be sure to securely hide them and their contents before you park at your next destination. There’s nothing that baits a would-be thief more than you shuffling through your purchases in plain sight before leaving your car.

Park in a visible, open, and well-lit area. Avoid parking right next to shrubbery, large vehicles, or anything else that hides away your automobile. Those looking to break in a car are less likely to choose those that are out in the open.

There are hundreds of auto burglaries in the city of Springville a year and a lot of these cases go unreported. Foster says, “We do encourage people to report everything. Sometimes people think, ‘Oh, it was only a little bit of money or an old ipod.’ But the police department can’t solve the problem if we don’t know about it and sometimes this information is needed for nothing else but to build a future case.”