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Police Warn of Increase in Vehicle Burglaries

Throughout California, law enforcement has seen automobile thefts and break-ins increase at an alarming rate.

Who provides the burglar with the opportunity? The victim provides the burglar with the opportunity by leaving their vehicle unlocked, their window open or by leaving any valuable property in the vehicle. This includes items hidden, or in the trunk.

What are their favorite targets? Anything of real or perceived value. The property most preferred is cash or loose change that is left in the console or ashtray of the vehicle. They also like wallets, purses, cellular phones, laptops, tablets, GPS, radar detectors, radios, speakers, CD’s, tools, clothing items and backpacks/gym bags.

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It is not uncommon for WiFi signal locators to be utilized to locate which vehicles may be equipped with electronics.

When do auto burglaries occur? Any day of the week and any time of day or night. Many burglars target vehicles that are parked in parking lots while their owners are at work, in class, shopping, watching a move, etc. where the likelihood of being caught is low. However, recent burglary attempts include when a purse is left on the front seat of a vehicle while and unsuspecting victim goes inside a coffee shop to pick up a mobile order.

What can I do to keep from being the victim of an auto burglary?

  • Park your car in a garage, a gated or monitored parking lot or in well-lit areas;
  • Close your windows and lock your doors;
  • Remove visible items from your vehicle;
  • Close and lock your vehicle (doors, windows, trunk, hatchback, tailgate, sunroof), and take your keys with you. Never hide a key on/around your vehicle – if you can find it, so can a burglar. Do not attach personal identifying information to your keys;
  • Use your vehicle alarm – it can be an effective deterrent;
  • Do not leave incoming or outgoing mail in your car;
  • Avoid leaving a garage door opener in your vehicle. Always lock the door between your garage and your residence;
  • Avoid announcing your vacation on social media – it is easier than you think to look up your address;
  • Record serial numbers and other pertinent information of your valuables;
  • Familiarize yourself with the features of your devices, some have the ability to be tracked if stolen;

What should I do if I find my car has been burglarized? Report anyone that is seen trying door handles, looking in cars or loitering in the parking lot. For suspicious activity or in-progress burglaries, call or text 9-1-1. Our Public Safety Dispatchers will ask you who you are and where you are calling from. Then they will ask you to describe the suspect (race, sex, height, weight clothing description, direction of travel and details for any associated vehicle(s)). Do not get inside of the car to see what’s missing because you may be destroying evidence needed to catch the burglar.

If the burglary has already occurred and there are no know suspects, either call the non-emergency phone line (408)615-5580 or report the incident online at www.scpd.org

Why is it important to report crimes to law enforcement? Police reports record facts that can be useful in investigating and prosecuting crimes, particularly among high-rate offenders. This information also helps track emerging trends, and preventative measures to reduce the frequency and severity of such problems.

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