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

Due to a recent uptick in thefts from vehicles in the area, 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.

Daytime Vehicle Break-ins

These types of thefts often occur in the parking lots of shopping centers, fitness centers or gyms, recreational parks, and daycare centers. This is where victims are most likely to leave valuables in their 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 females are known to keep valuables in their handbags and purses, which commonly are left on a car seat or floor board of the vehicle. Even if the vehicle is locked, thieves will break vehicle's window and take the items left in plain view in seconds. Often taken are cash, credit cards, check books, and ID cards which can lead to other issues such as check and credit card fraud or identity theft.

Nighttime Vehicle Break-ins

These types of thefts often occur in the early morning hours between 12:00 AM to 5:00 AM, when most victims are sleeping. Thieves commonly walk around residential neighborhoods or apartment complexes, pulling on vehicle doors handles in search of one that is unlocked. Most people who are victimized left their vehicle unlocked because they felt safe parking it in their driveway overnight, and forgot to take their valuables out of the vehicle 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 the thief doesn't need to find the key. All it takes is for a thief to sit down, press the brake and ignition, and away they go with the vehicle that has now been made part of the "criminal ride share program".

What To Do

  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicles, such as cash, credit cards, check books, ID cards, or the key 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!

The Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police strives 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. Just because you live in a quiet or nice neighborhood doesn’t mean a thief can’t come to 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.