How do thieves do it? Burglarize vehicles, that is.
Many car thieves and burglars are drug addicts and/or belong to crime rings or gangs, many times working in pairs to scope out a parking garage or lot for an easy target. Still others are professional criminals and are very, very good at what they do. Frequently, one criminal will drive around a garage or parking lot; the other will walk looking for vehicles that have valuables out in the open. Most use cell phones and radios to communicate with each other to alert the other of police or a passerby.
Just like any crime, auto burglaries are a crime of opportunity. Thieves will target vehicles that are parked in dark places, away from cameras or pedestrian activity. They will peer into a vehicle and look for items left out in the open, such as portable navigation systems, cell phones, IPODs, wallets, purses and back packs. Two out of three cars usually have something of value left out in the open.
Items most commonly stolen from vehicles include; backpacks, gym bags, briefcases, day-planners, cash, coins, checkbooks and credit/debit cards, wallets and purses (out in the open or “hidden” in glove compartment or under a seat with an increasing number occurring when people are pumping gas), cell phones (and chargers), portable navigation systems.
What to do… leave nothing in “plain sight” that might make your vehicle worth “investigating” by a thief; not even loose coins or a CD.
Try to park in busy, well-traveled areas and well-lighted areas. Large anonymous lots are hit by thieves much more often than parking lots that are immediately adjacent to residential housing or other occupied buildings. Auto burglars prefer breaking into cars where they will not be observed or attract notice, and choose their targets accordingly.
In addition, one reason SUVs and pickups are common auto-burglary targets is because they don’t have a trunk to hold valuables. The thieves know this, and do check glove compartments, behind seats, and under seats. It only takes a few seconds to check all the usual hiding places. Also, if your trunk can be opened from inside your car without a key, lock this feature when you are not in your car or have it disabled.
What else can you do?
Prevention is the key!
Don’t leave valuables in your car – this is what the criminal is looking for! If you leave valuable items visible in your car, your car is automatically a target. Thieves are targeting purses, laptops, GPS units and MP3 players, which are easily sold. Additionally, computers, purses and wallets are highly desired
targets that are stolen to commit identity theft.
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. Someone may be watching when you put items under a seat or in your trunk.