Thursday, August 8, 2013

How To Prevent Your Car From Being Broken Into

Take all valuables with you when you park, and make sure all items, regardless of value, are not visible.
(photo courtesy of SPD)

The Seattle P-I recently published a list of which neighborhoods have the most car break-ins. Police in this Laurelhurst area beat have responded to 438 reports of car break-ins since June 2010.

Terri Johnson, Seattle Police North Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator, recently sent out email with tips on how to prevent car prowls:

Car Prowls - Don’t become another victim!
Car prowls are crimes of opportunity that are committed within seconds.  They are expensive, inconvenient, and aggravating for victims.

• Remove all valuables from your vehicle every time you park.
• If valuables must be left behind, hide them out of sight several blocks before parking.
• Disable internal trunk releases per your owner’s manual instructions.
• Audible alarms or other theft deterrent devices can be effective.
• Security garages are only secure if entering and exiting drivers watch the door fully close behind them every
• Remote controls for security garages should never be left inside parked vehicles.  They provide future access
to returning thieves.
• Thieves are targeting vehicles of all makes and models for valuables including:
• GPS Devices • Laptops
• Cellular Phones • Cameras
• Purses • Luggage
• Cash • Garage Remotes
Most stolen property is traded or sold on the street within minutes of the crime, lowering the chance of recovery.
Thieves commonly break windows for entry, but many are also successful at defeating door and trunk locks.

Report all crimes and suspicious activity to
911 immediately.

You are more likely to be a victim of a vehicle crime than any other crime reported to the Seattle Police Department. An experienced Car Prowler or Thief can gain access to your car in virtually seconds. In less than 30 seconds, someone could break into a parked car. Most car prowls themselves take less than two minutes. The damage done to locks and windows can be very expensive to repair and cause great inconvenience.


The following are recommendations that can reduce your risk of being a victim of a car prowl or theft.
    • When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, stop and take a look around the area.
    • Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows and lock the car.
    • Make a habit of locking your garage door and car doors.
    • If possible, store your car in a closed and locked garage.
    • If your car is stored in a carport or parked near your house, leave your exterior lights on throughout the night.
    • If you park on the street, choose a well-lit, open space even if it means adding additional street/yard lighting & trimming back trees/bushes that block your view of your vehicle.
    • If you park your car in a dark or isolated area, consider the City Light Area Lighting Program, which permits additional light fixtures to be placed on existing poles. The cost is less than $5 per month per light. Call (206) 684-3000 for more information.
    • Consider replacing the light fixture closest to your car with a motion detector unit. Motion detectors are a good psychological deterrents since the normal assumption of a person seeing a light come on is that someone has seen them. Additionally, the light makes the prowler or thief more visible.

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