Protect Yourself and Your Valuables

Burglaries, especially from cars, is often a crime of opportunity and convenience. Taking the time to protect your car and valuables can remove the opportunity for criminals and prevent you from becoming a victim of a car burglary. The 9 p.m. Routine is a great reminder to make sure that you’ve removed any valuables left in your car and that all doors are locked before heading to bed each night. Pasco Sheriff’s Office urges citizens to create a daily practice of checking that they have locked all their doors each night at 9 p.m. 

Here are some essential steps to stay safe and prevent these crimes:

Remove any valuables when you get out of your car. Placing valuable items, such as purses, wallets, laptops, backpacks and guns, out of sight still leaves the risk of losing these items if you forget to lock your doors. Get in the habit of taking your belongings out of your car when you leave to ensure your items are safe. Items stolen from cars can often appear in other crimes, such as armed robberies or instances of fraudulent credit card use. 

Always close your windows, lock your car doors and enable your car’s alarm, if equipped, when leaving your car. Thieves can work quickly and car burglaries can occur even if you leave your car for just a moment. Additionally, leaving your door unlocked can give criminals easy access to things like your garage door opener, which provides access to the rest of your home. Criminals often look to steal things quickly and without drawing attention to themselves. By locking the door to your home and car, most of a criminal’s opportunity is eliminated. Enabling an alarm system may also deter criminals, who often run away once an alarm sounds.

When parking, be intentional with your parking spot. For example, parking under a tree may provide shade from the heat, but it can also offer shadows or blocked security camera views. Park in a well-lit area. Highly visible areas leave little hiding space for criminals to attempt to enter a car.

As always, if you see anything suspicious, be sure to report it to law enforcement as quickly as possible. Many car burglary sprees happen rapidly, with several suspects working together to quickly sweep through a neighborhood, searching for unlocked cars. Commonly, thieves test a car’s door handle to see if its unlocked. If it is, they typically move on. Reporting this activity to law enforcement can help prevent your neighbors from becoming a victim. 

Sticking to a daily 9 p.m. Routine by remembering to remove all valuables from your car and locking it is a great step in preventing yourself from becoming a victim of a crime. Set a reminder on your phone to help you remember each night, and don’t forget to share the message with friends and neighbors to help ensure that your neighborhood is safe. 

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