All auto break-ins usually have one thing in common; there's something left in the car worth stealing. Most thefts from vehicles are "crimes of opportunity" that could be prevented by taking some preventative steps. The North St Paul Police Department recommends the following:
- Don't leave valuables in your vehicle: You'd be surprised how often this happens, but individuals leave valuable items in plain sight all the time. If you leave items in your vehicle and they're visible, the chances your vehicle will get broken into increases greatly.
- Place items out of sight BEFORE reaching your destination: Someone may be watching when you put your valuables under a seat or in the trunk and the moment you're gone, a thief could break into your car. So place those items in a safe place before you get to the park, beach, baseball game, etc. Valuable items that thieves target are phones, purses, headphones, credit cards, money, packages and so forth. If you can't take the items with you, secure them in a safe place in your vehicle, like a locked glove compartment or your trunk.
- Avoid leaving packages or shopping bags out in the open: Lock them into your trunk, if you have to leave the vehicle unattended.
- Lock ALL of your vehicle's doors: This is true even if you plan on only being gone for "just a second". Remember, it only takes seconds to steal items from your car. It's not uncommon, for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles, looking for unlocked doors. Also, make sure car windows aren't left open.
- Park in busy, well-lighted areas: Pick a parking spot where there is a lot of activity. Auto thieves prefer breaking into cars in isolated areas.
- Alarms or anti-theft devices work: Thieves are usually looking for the "easiest" target. If your car has an alarm, it could act as a deterrent. But don't make this common mistake: Just because you have an alarm, doesn't mean thieves won't break in if you leave valuable items in plain sight.
- Don't leave spare keys in your vehicle: An experienced thief knows all the hiding places. Store spare keys elsewhere, possibly your wallet or purse. .
- Don't leave your driver's license or title in the vehicle.
- Keep a record of the VIN number, license plate number, and insurance information in your wallet or purse.
- Install a vehicle tracking and location system that can be activated after the vehicle is reported as stolen.
If your vehicle is stolen or property is taken from the vehicle there are a number of things you can and should do:
- Call the police immediately.
- Provide a complete description of the items taken.
- Also, provide the license plate number, make and model of vehicle, year and color, plus VIN number and insurance company.