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Altadena Sheriff's Station Provides Tips on Vehicle Burglary Prevention

File photo.
File photo.
From the Altadena Sheriff's Station

Auto burglary, like all crime prevention involves limiting the criminal’s ability and opportunity to commit the crime. With very little time and effort, you can make a huge difference in your vulnerability to vehicle burglary.

The thieves walking or driving around your neighborhoods are looking for vehicles with unlocked doors and unsecured windows. They are looking for vehicles that have valuables in plain sight. It is fast and easy to smash open a window and take valuable items lying in plain sight within a vehicle. It is even easier if that vehicle is left unlocked.

Some simple tips to help stop vehicle burglaries:
Don’t leave valuables in your car. That sounds like common sense, but drivers and passengers do leave items of value in plain sight every day. If you leave valuable items visible in your car, your car is automatically a target for thieves.

If you must leave valuable items in your car while out and about, place items out of sight before reaching your destination or move them inconspicuously. This includes packages, backpacks, gym bags, GPS devices, cell phones, MP3 players, and so forth. Someone will be watching when you put items under a seat or throw something over them. An opportunistic thief is on the lookout for trunk-packing, and can break into your car the minute you’re out of sight.

Lock ALL your vehicle’s doors even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time. Every year, we have items stolen from unlocked vehicles where the owner was only going to be gone “just for a second.” It only takes seconds to steal your stuff! It’s not at all uncommon for thieves to walk down a row of parked cars and check vehicle doors to see if they are unlocked. Don’t leave any window open or even cracked open, including vent/wind windows and sunroofs.

Leave no trace. Don’t leave any “sign” that there might be valuables “out of sight” in your vehicle, such as docking stations or connector cables. Leave nothing in “plain sight” that might make your vehicle worth “investigating” by a thief; not even loose coins or a CD. Just leaving any item may end up costing you hundreds of dollars to replace a broken window because a thief wanted to check your car for “hidden” valuables. Very few auto break-ins are “random” - the thieves see “something” that leads them to believe there is something of value in your car.

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, who most often chooses the easiest target. If they had to choose from, one with an alarm and one without, they will likely burglarize the one without (unless you’ve left out valuables just too good to ignore!). And don’t think that your dark-tinted windows will hide your valuables. Thieves often use flashlights to see through tint, after-market tint is handy to keep all the broken glass in one “sheet” when they break out your window (and toss the broken window into your backseat to hide it from passersby).

Try to park in busy, well-lighted areas.

Record the serial numbers of any items you regularly have in your vehicle.

What to do if something is stolen out of your car:
As soon as you notice something‘s stolen (or that your car has been broken into) do not touch/adjust anything in, on, or around the car. As soon as possible, call the Altadena Sheriff’s Station to report the incident at (626) 798-1131. Also report ANY suspicious activities, persons or vehicles. Deputies cannot be everywhere, and we count on good people to be our “eyes and ears” and report suspicious activities as they are occurring. Do your part by taking preventive action and spreading the word.

How can vehicle burglary lead to a Residential Burglary?
Vehicle Registration—Black out the address on your registration and photocopy it. Keep the copy, not the original in your car. Keep the one with the address with you.
Mail—Do not leave outgoing or incoming mail in your car, especially where visible.
Garage Door Opener—Avoid leaving this in your car if possible. If you must, remove it from sight.
Keys—Never leave keys in your car!

If you see something say something. Call the Altadena Sheriff's Station at (626) 798-1131.

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