On a recent Monday morning the deputies were called to a neighborhood where nearly twenty cars had been burglarized overnight. In some cases nothing was taken, and in others the perpetrators targeted the usual plunder of loose change, wallets, and small electronics. Besides being late for work or for other appointments while reporting these crimes, all the burglary victims had something else in common – they had all left their cars unlocked.
Over the past few years I have recommended locking up valuables to prevent theft. Unfortunately, many people do not to take advantage of one of the most effective methods available for preventing auto burglary when they leave their car unlocked. The most effective way to protect your valuables is to properly secure them.
Statistics show that in 2007 Pinellas County deputies investigated nearly 1,700 vehicle burglaries. Of those cases more than 62% involved an open window or unlocked vehicle. In an additional 26% of reported burglaries the victim was unsure if the vehicle had been locked. Last year there were 2,464 reported vehicle burglaries of which more than 66% were open or unlocked, and an additional 16% of victims were unsure if the vehicle had been locked. Locking your car doors and closing windows completely, this is arguably one of the most effective forms of crime prevention.
We cannot afford to have our hard earned money and property stolen by thieves searching for an easy target like an unlocked home or car. There are also other potential losses when victimized in this manner, including lost wages for court appearances and replacement costs for any items stolen.
By taking a few minutes to protect yourself and your belongings by locking doors and windows you may prevent a crime and avoid becoming another burglary statistic. By doing so you are once again helping us in “Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas.”
If you would like other suggestions regarding ways that you can protect yourself and your property please contact the Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 582-5611.