Thefts from autos alarming, but preventable
By Sarah Frierson
Laptops, a purse, GPS systems, a briefcase, house keys, glasses, a tax return, license plates, a passport, cash, iPods, debit cards, jewelry, speakers, an amp, backpacks, a digital photo frame, a Nintendo Wii system, headphones and a car radio.
What do these items have in common?
They were all stolen from vehicles in Cooper-Young during the first two weeks of June. At least 12 thefts from vehicles were reported to the Memphis Police Department during that time period in our neighborhood. So what can we do to curb this trend?
- Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle. Everyone knows this, but perhaps we should reconsider what might be valuable to a thief. Obviously, a purse or a laptop is worth a lot of money, but financial documents and mail can also provide valuable information. Don’t let a car break-in lead to identity theft.
- If you must leave valuables in your car (especially navigation and audio systems), lock them in your glove compartment or trunk. If your audio system has a removable face plate, remove it and stow it.
- Leave no trace. A docking station or connecting cable is evidence that valuable goods are somewhere in the vehicle. Put accessories away as well.
- Park in a well-lit area. If you park in a driveway, install a motion-sensitive security light. If you park on the street, try to park near a lamp post. If the street light is out, call MLGW at 320-1497 to report it.
- Mark your valuables. Just like items in your home or garage, marking your vehicle’s valuables can increase the chance of recovery. Etch or mark your high-value items with your driver’s license number.
- Secure the car. If your car has an anti-theft system, use it. If you don’t have one, make sure all doors are locked and windows are up. Don’t forget the sunroof.
- Protect your plate. Col. Houston at Union Station has warned us that license plate thefts are on the rise. There is no surefire way to prevent license plate theft, but you can make it more difficult. Use a utility knife to cut an “X” into your registration sticker, making it impossible to peel off the sticker. This will also deter thieves from clipping off a part of the plate. Hardware stores and specialty retailers also sell various anti-theft devices like anti-theft screws and fasteners.