Vehicle Break-ins & Thefts-What to look for and how to prevent it

The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police would like to provide the public with a little background knowledge about how thieves both target and commit vehicle break-ins of parked and unoccupied vehicles. With the nice weather here, thefts from vehicles are likely to occur.

Daytime vehicle break-ins often occur in parking lots of shopping centers, fitness centers or gyms, recreational parks, and daycare centers. This is where victims are most likely to either be away from their vehicle for an extended period of time or leave their valuables in the vehicle. Thieves often will park and wait in the area to watch potential victims exit and walk away from their vehicles. Females tend to be targeted the most because it is common for a female to carry valuables in a single bag, which commonly are left on a car seat or floor board of the vehicle. Even if the vehicle is locked, thieves will break vehicle windows and take the items left in plain view. Often taken are cash, credit cards, check books, and ID cards. Which can lead to a whole other issue, check and credit card fraud and identity theft.

Nighttime vehicle break-ins often occur in the early morning hours. Thieves commonly walk around residential neighborhoods or apartment complexes, pulling on vehicle doors in search of an unlocked door. Most people who are victimized tend to leave their vehicle unlocked, because they feel safe parking it in their driveway overnight, and forget to take their valuables out and into their residence. There has also been prior accounts of vehicles being stolen because a key FOB (wireless vehicle key) was left in a vehicle. Most victims of this crime believed that no one would know the key was in the vehicle, but all it takes is for a thief to sit in you unlocked vehicle, press the break and ignition, and think “Jackpot!!! Free Car!!!”

The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police strive to prevent these crimes from occurring with proactive patrol, but the unfortunate truth is that we cannot catch them all. These incidents tend to be crimes of opportunity. If you don’t give them the opportunity, then it likely won’t happen. The best way to prevent these crimes is to do the following.

  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicles, such as cash, credit cards, check books, ID cards, or the keys to the vehicle.
  • If you must leave valuables in your vehicle, place them out of view or in the trunk.
  • Lock your vehicle even if it’s on your property or in your driveway.
  • Do not hesitate to call 911 if you see suspicious activity. And no don’t tell the thief you called us. We want it to be a surprise. Don’t spoil the party!

Just because you live in a quiet or nice neighborhood doesn’t mean a thief can’t come visit unannounced. Thieves are drawn to the location where they are likely to have an easier time getting what they want. Help us make it difficult and keep them from wanting to come back.