Increase in vehicle break-ins; police offer advice to keep from becoming a victim

Police Chief Jamie Newsome

In one day alone this week, five different vehicles were reported being broken into or attempted to be broken into in parts of Cedartown.

An alarming rise of vehicle break-ins, or larceny cases have been reported to the Cedartown Police Department recently.

Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome says there are several measures that the public can take to greatly reduce the chance of having your vehicle broken in to:

  1. Lock your doors
    While this piece of advice should be a no-brainer, a large number of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars. Even if you’re running into the store for a Coke, that’s too long to leave your vehicle’s contents open for the taking. Simply locking the doors will deter those who might just be waiting around for an easy target.
  2. Keep it tidy
    Almost any worthless personal item that’s visible from the outside — even an empty shopping bag — could be seen as a valuable or a carrier of valuables. If you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area on display, consider getting a cover. Most of these vehicles can be fitted with inexpensive retractable covers to help keep shopping bags or other belongings out of sight.
  3. Conceal all the evidence
    Don’t leave any bait out for thieves; stow your electronics and accessories well out of sight-or better yet, bring it with you. The evidence alone might be enough to pique the interest of thieves, so hide that too, including power plugs, telltale iPod adapters, or nav-system windshield suction-cup mounts, and even put the cigarette lighter back in place. Record serial numbers of property you may leave inside your vehicle. If stolen, it makes it more likely the suspect, if he tries to pawn, will be identified.
  4. Stash before — not after — you park
    Get in the habit of putting shopping bags in the trunk right when you return to the vehicle, rather than after you park at the next place. Thieves sometimes linger in busy parking lots looking for valuables being moved out of sight. Don’t display to them what you have.
    Completely close windows and sunroofs. No, it’s not just because thieves might reach in through the gap and open your locks with a coat hanger. Open windows will disable the pressure sensor in some car alarms, leaving the vehicle more vulnerable to break-in and potentially giving thieves more time before the alarm sounds.
  5. Get an alarm
    If you don’t have an alarm system, get one. The noise alone may be enough to scare away an inexperienced thief and prevent the break-in. Factory-option alarm systems are generally best, but a carefully installed, properly calibrated aftermarket system can provide just as much safety. Beware, many less-expensive new cars have remote entry but not a true alarm.
  6. Stick with the original audio system
    Thefts of car audio components are on the decline, but having an aftermarket system still makes a car more attractive to thieves thinking of breaking in. There’s no black market to speak of for factory stereos, and they’ve become much better sounding in recent years.
  7. Park for visibility
    Park in a busy, well-lit area, and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage. Leave your carport light on at night. Install motion sensor exterior lights. Except for the most brazen thieves, the greater the chances are that someone might see a crime in progress, the lower the chances are that the potential thief will attempt it.
  8. Layer your Defenses
    Develop a telephone or e-mail “tree” of neighbors or tenants wishing to participate and notify each other of criminal and suspicious activity so all can be aware and alert and take precautions.
  9. Always report suspicious activity to the Police
    Officers patrol the city continuously, but need the public’s help. When you see something that does not “feel right”, trust your instincts and report it.