With the long, cold days of winter now behind us, it’s time to start getting outside to enjoy the nice weather and sunshine. Deputy Chris Johnston and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit would like to take a moment to give you some “tips” about vehicle prowling prevention:
-Avoiding becoming the victim of a vehicle prowler starts before you even park and exit your vehicle! Upon arrival at your destination, choose a parking spot close to other people/activity. If you won’t be returning until after dark, look for nearby lighting sources and try to keep your car well-lit.
-Before exiting your car, scan the area around you. Pay attention, and look for anything that seems out of place. Vehicle prowlers sometimes wait for others to park, then watch people as they leave their vehicle unattended and exit the area. Is someone loitering in the parking area unnecessarily, either on foot or in another nearby vehicle? If so, call Crime Check at 509-456-2233 to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
-Be sure all the windows of your vehicle are closed completely, and all doors are locked. It’s temping with hot temperatures to leave windows open for ventilation, but it’s attractive to would-be thieves.
-Vehicle security systems are an excellent theft deterrent. If your car did not come with a factory-installed security system, invest the money in having an aftermarket system installed. For a little extra, you can get a system with a “starter kill” relay that will also prevent your car from being stolen.
-Last but not least, don’t leave ANYTHING in your vehicle that you’re not willing to part with! Commonly stolen items include wallets, purses, tablets, GPS units, clothing, backpacks, garage door openers, etc. ANYTHING left in open view is a potential target for theft- loose change, charging/power cords, tools, etc. Thieves don’t care about the cost of repairing the damage they do to your car. Leaving these items at home or hiding them out of view will take away the invitation to break into your car.
Also, don’t be a victim due to the “time excuse”. Frequently, victims of vehicle prowling report that they were “only gone for a few minutes”. It takes just a few seconds for a criminal to break a window, enter your car, and take whatever you left there for them. Or worse, they might elect to steal your entire car. Remind yourself of this fact, and keep your vehicle more secure.
Be safe, everyone!
Interested in more Crime Prevention Information or have questions for Crime Prevention Deputy Chris Johnston (Spokane Valley) or Crime Prevention Deputy David Morris (Spokane County)? Go to the Crime Prevention webpage at http://www.spokanecounty.org/1376/Crime-Prevention-Unit