BPS offers tips to avoid car break-ins

Published 9:03 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Citizens can prevent thieves from breaking into their cars and stealing items by following a few simple tips, according to insurance companies and local detectives.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company offers a list of tips for preventing break-ins, while Bainbridge Public Safety Investigator Chris Jordan talked about his experience in dealing with thieves.

The first tip is to park in well-lit areas, preferably where people are passing by frequently. Drivers should also avoid parking where their car is concealed by larger vehicles, fences or trees or bushes. The reason is that thieves like to work in private where they can’t easily be spotted, Jordan said.

The next tip, and one of the most important, is to always lock all of the vehicle’s doors and close windows and sunroofs before leaving it behind. Thieves often go through a group of vehicles trying door handles to see which ones are unlocked, Jordan said. Activating or installing a car alarm can also help.

Along with locking their vehicles, drivers should also hide any valuable items out of sight, either by taking items with them or putting them in a locked trunk. Prescription drugs should also be kept out of sight, such as by putting them in the center console, Jordan said. It can also be helpful to hide any electronic accessories, such as power plugs and adapters for MP3 players and GPS systems.

Drivers should be careful not to leave any spare keys in their vehicle. According to Nationwide, car thieves know where spare keys are commonly hidden within vehicles, so drivers should take keys with them. Visible anti-theft devices installed within the car may discourage anyone from breaking into the car with the intent of stealing it.

Lastly, drivers should trust their instincts and find another place to park if they don’t feel safe in a particular area, Jordan said. Concerned drivers can report suspicious activity to business employees or to police. Doing so could help others from being victims of a car break-in or an assault.