Protect yourself against thefts from autos

According to the Kansas City Police Department, thefts from autos are on the rise in the area. We all know that auto burglaries are crimes of opportunity. They are typically committed when the perpetrator sees that he/she has the chance to commit the act at that moment and seizes it.

KCPD Community Interaction Officer Mikki Cassidy recently shared the following tips on Nextdoor about how to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

  • If you have a garage, use it.
  • Whenever possible, park in the driveway, preferably under bright LED motion lights.
  • Lock all doors and roll up all windows, even if you are home or out working in the yard.
  • Don’t leave your garage door opener on the dashboard or the visor. Lock it in your glovebox, hide it, or take it with you.
  • Never leave valuables in your car. Make sure all personal items are stored out of sight, or in a locked console or locked glovebox.
  • When transporting valuables, place them in the trunk before you get to the location where you intend to park. Don’t transfer them at the parking place in open view of other people.
  • Remember: briefcases, sunglasses, clothing, keys, gym bags, even loose change are all tempting to a thief. Especially loose change.
  • Keep your driver’s license and vehicle registration with you and out of the vehicle. Left with the car, the documents can be used by a thief to impersonate you when transferring the car’s ownership.
  • Never leave guns in vehicles overnight. Take them inside. If you are out and about and cannot take the gun into a business, lock it in the trunk, glovebox or center console.
  • We have also had issues with tow trucks stealing vehicles by simply towing them away. Park with the front wheels turned sharply to the right or left, making it difficult for the professional thief to tow your car away backwards, as the tires are locked at an angle. With front wheel drive cars: when you park, pull on the emergency brake and place your vehicle in Park. If you have a stick shift, pull the emergency brake and shift into forward or reverse gear. All four wheels will be locked, making it difficult for a thief to tow your car.
  • Install a car alarm or OnStar with a vehicle GPS tracking device so the vehicle location can be tracked, or with OnStar, the vehicle can be shut down if stolen.
  • Share your experiences with your neighbors on social media after notifying police, so they too can be on the lookout. If you see any suspicious people or vehicles in your area, call police and share details with your neighbors. This is community policing in action.
  • Be a good neighbor. If you are heading in late and your neighbor’s car is not secure, with the windows down, call or text them a reminder. Or simply secure it for them. Get to know your neighbors and find what would be preferable. Understand this, if you notice an unsecure car, a thief surely will too. Look out for one another and stay safe!
  • Please call 816-234-5111 to report your crime.