APD: Lock your cars

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Atmore Police Department would like to urge citizens to be mindful of vehicle burglaries this summer and ask them to take all precautions in securing their vehicles.

Director of Public Safety Glenn Carlee said that the APD had recently received several calls of auto burglaries in the Rockaway Creek Road neighborhood.

“There were some unlocked vehicles in that neighborhood and a few small items had been stolen,” Carlee said. “None of them were forceable entry, they were just a case of the thief finding an unlocked vehicle. We just want to remind citizens to always lock their car doors.”

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Carlee said that this type of theft is usually a crime of opportunity, where a thief is looking for the easiest target. These crimes can often be avoided if simple preventative steps are taken.

The APD also issued a press release with tips on preventing this crime. Some of those tips included:

• Don’t leave valuables in your car. 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 to commit identity theft.

• 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.

• Very few auto break-ins are random — the thieves see something in plain sight that’s valuable, or hints of possible hidden valuables. Leave nothing in plain sight that might make your vehicle worth investigating by a thief; not even loose coins or a CD.

A visible gym bag or backpack may be seen as holding something of value, and vehicle owners should never leave a firearm in their car, as it would be considered a prize for a thief. If you have an after-market stereo/CD-player with a removable faceplate, remove it. Do not store valuables in your car any longer than necessary, and certainly never overnight.

• Auto-burglars prefer breaking into cars where they will not be observed or attract attention, and choose their targets accordingly. Park in well-lighted areas, especially for overnight parking.

• Lock your doors! Lock your doors and close your windows. A majority of car burglaries reported to the APD involve parked cars that were in the owner’s driveway and unlocked. Thieves look for easy targets like unlocked doors.

Always lock your doors, no matter where you park. Make sure all your windows are up as well. Make sure the vehicle is locked and the car alarm is set. The alarm should be set even if the vehicle is left unattended for a short amount of time. Lock all your vehicle’s doors even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time.

It’s not at all uncommon for thieves to walk through a residential area and check vehicle doors to see if they are unlocked. Don’t leave any window open or even cracked open, including vent/wing windows and sunroofs. Don’t use “hide-a-keys.” Thieves know the best places to hide those.

• Recording serial numbers is important, so the stolen items can be entered into a nationwide stolen property system and can be invaluable to help police identify your stolen items if they are located.

To report any suspicious activity, call the APD at (251) 368-9141 or 911.