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Public safety tips: You Can Prevent Vehicle Theft, Burglary

May 14, 2013 — The Salt Lake City Police Department’s auto theft investigations unit reports that the number of vehicles reported stolen spiked during the first four months of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago.

As a result, SLCPD reminds owners to take simple steps to eliminate the desire, ability and opportunity for criminals to steal or burglarize vehicles:

  • Remove visible items: if you leave items visible in your car, you are a target. Be aware that someone may be watching as you put a wallet, purse or cell phone under your seat, especially at a gym. Take these items with you. Don’t leave anything in your car unless you would be willing to throw it away.
  • Lock it up: Lock your vehicle and take your keys, even for quick errands. Lock the trunk, hatchback or tailgate to block access into the car. Close all windows, including vent or wing windows and sunroofs. Buy a steering wheel lock or alarm and use it. Many people believe that alarms no longer make a difference; however, they do remain an effective deterrent to a burglar. Criminals will choose the easiest target. If they have two cars to choose from — one with an alarm, one without — they will burglarize the one without.
  • Park smart, safely: at home, park your car in the garage if you have one. Lock your car and all garage doors. Don’t leave the garage door open just because you are home. Away from home, always park in a well-lighted area and check to see that your vehicle is visible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The more exposure, the less attractive your car is to would be thieves — which also means, don’t park in alleys or other areas with little foot or car traffic.

Ever wonder what catches a vehicle burglar’s eye? Make sure not to leave any of the following in plain sight, let alone unsecured:

  • Briefcases, day planners, mail
  • Cash, especially in the ash tray or cup holder area
  • Computers, cell phones, cell phone chargers
  • CDs and CD cases
  • Stereos
  • Garage door openers
  • Gym bags
  • Tools
  • Jewelry, keys, purses

Lastly — always report suspicious activity. For emergencies, call 911. For non-emergencies, call (801) 799-3000.

Attachments: heat maps showing stolen vehicle and stolen recovered vehicle activity in April 2013.

Contact: Reporters seeking comment should contact the Public Information Officer at 801.799.NEWS (6397).

April 2013 Stolen Vehicles Heat Map

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