Within the past few weeks the Oakdale Police Department has seen an increase in vehicle burglaries throughout the City of Oakdale. Because of this, vehicle burglaries are becoming one of the most common crimes occurring within the City of Oakdale. Here are some simple helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of a vehicle burglary.
• Never leave your vehicle/house keys in your vehicle. If you feel the need to keep an “extra key” in your vehicle make sure you keep it in a well-hidden location. But, remember thieves know all the “common hiding” locations. The best advice I could give you is to contact your insurance company and ask them if they could provide you with a spare “credit card key.” A spare “credit card key” is a plastic key the size of a “credit card” that fits in your purse or wallet.
• Always lock your vehicle’s doors, even when you’re away from the vehicle for a short time. Remember thieves are always looking for a “quick and easy” target. So, if you leave your vehicle unlocked even for the shortest time the thieves will take advantage.
• Make sure your windows are rolled up and items are secured.
Remember, a vehicle burglary is a “crime of opportunity.” If the thieves see your valuables simply lying on your vehicle’s front or back seat they won’t think twice about breaking your vehicle’s window and taking your valuables. An experienced vehicle burglar can break a vehicle window, grab your valuables, and be gone in a matter of seconds.
• Don’t leave valuable items in your vehicle such as purses, wallets, laptop computers, cash, CD’s, etc. If you can’t take them, put them in a place that is out of view, i.e. glove compartment, vehicle’s trunk, under the seat, etc. Don’t make yourself an obvious target. I strongly advise that you leave your valuables in your home.
• If your vehicle is equipped with a removable “Pull-Out” style vehicle stereo and/or removable faceplate, remove such equipment from your vehicle. Doing so could prevent you from becoming a victim of a vehicle burglary.
• Park in lighted area. If your driveway does not have some sort of lighting equipment you should consider investing in a lighting device/equipment.
• Park your vehicle in your garage, on the driveway, or near your house or apartment so your vehicle can be viewed periodically.
• Install an alarm system on your vehicle. There are many affordable vehicle alarms systems that could help protect your vehicle. But, at the same time having a vehicle alarm does not guarantee that your vehicle will not be burglarized.
• Report any suspicious people/activity you see in your neighborhood. If you see a person acting suspiciously or actually committing a vehicle burglary or any other crime, please report the activity immediately.
• Get to know your neighbors. Talk amongst your neighbors so that you could get to know one another because the more eyes you have watching your property the better off you are.
• Set up a Neighborhood Watch Program. If you reside in a neighborhood that does not have a Neighborhood Watch Program and you would like to get one started contact Sgt. Mike Eggener of the Oakdale Police Department (847-2231) or Volunteer Coordinator Brea Derespini of Oakdale Parks and Recreation Department (845-3571) and they can help you get one started.
• Inform your neighbors of when you’re going to be out of town so they could keep an eye on your vehicle and residence. By doing this you will always have someone watching your vehicle when you’re out of town either on business or vacation.
Following these simple tips won’t guarantee that you will not become a victim of a vehicle burglary, but at least it would make it harder for the thieves to break into your vehicle. In closing remember a vehicle burglary is a “crime of opportunity” so let’s not make ourselves an easy target/victim.
Cop Corner is a monthly column provided by officers of the Oakdale Police Department, offering a variety of information and safety tips.