Crime Alert; A Message from the Chief of Police on Thefts from Vehicles – Community Advisory

Between May 25 and June 18, eight thefts from vehicles or attempt thefts from vehicles occurred. The break-in and thefts occurred in the following areas, with method of entry and property taken:

6600 block of Eastern Avenue

May 25, 10:30 pm – 11:40 pm

Unlocked vehicle

No property taken

6700 block of Poplar Avenue

May 30-31, 9:00 pm – 5:45 am

Unlocked vehicle

Property taken: cash

6600 block of Gude Avenue

May 30-31, 10:00 pm – 10:00 am

Unlocked vehicle

No property taken

6700 block of Allegheny Avenue

June 3, 1:01 am – 8:00 am

Unlocked vehicle

Property taken: cash, two GPS navigation devices, one DVD player

6600 block of Westmoreland Avenue

June 2-3, 6:00 pm – 1:45 pm

Unknown entry method

Property taken: steering wheel lock

6600 block of Westmoreland Avenue

June 2-3, 5:30 pm – 8:30 am

Unknown entry method

Property taken: cash

6700 block of Allegheny Avenue

June 14, 8:04 am

Unknown entry method

Unknown if property was taken

6700 block of Westmoreland Avenue

June 18, 11:00 pm

Unknown entry method

Property taken: credit cards, checkbook, cash

 

To obtain entry, suspect(s) mostly entered the vehicles through unlocked doors. Targeted property included GPS devices and money.

Sometimes thefts from vehicles go unreported. This may be due to the individual’s belief that nothing of value was taken so it’s not worth reporting. Regardless of the damage or value of the property, the police department wants to know. With a crime analyst in the department, part of his job is to track data on break-ins, among other job functions. If we don’t know about it, we can’t track it. Please report any break-in to your vehicle, regardless of how small you may believe the incident is. Failure to report crimes makes it extremely difficult to identify problems and to address safety concerns.

 

Below are safety tips to take into consideration:

 

If you leave valuables in your vehicle, will they be there when you return? If they can see it, they can steal it. So, secure it!

 

Theft from auto can occur at any time, from any vehicle. Often, valuables left in a car are taken during the night, but daytime thefts can occur on busy streets, with nobody reporting any suspicious behavior.

 

What Property Is Stolen? The following items, although not all-inclusive, should be taken into your home, or you risk them being taken by thieves: cellular phones, money, purse, wallet, briefcases, CDs, iPods, portable GPS systems, laptop computers and sports equipment. Auto parts are also taken, including a vehicle’s license plate.

 

How? Method of entry varies too. Unlocked cars with valuables in easy reach are as common as a window or door lock broken to gain entry.

 

Deterrents:

 

Vehicle Theft: Many auto parts stores sell steering wheel locks which are inexpensive; these are a major deterrent to vehicle theft.

 

For License Plate Theft: a unique screw, which requires a special tool to release the license plate, is available from auto parts stores. The cost can be as low as $4.

 

What you can do:

 

Lock doors and close windows completely.

Remove valuables from the vehicle or lock them in the trunk where they are out of sight.

Do not leave electronic devices or accessories visible. (A cigarette lighter plug or CD/DVD/iPad/iPod/laptop adapter are tell-tale signs of valuables in the car. Replace the lighter when exiting the vehicle).

Do not leave money in the car.

Park in your garage, if you have one, or in a well-lit area.

Install "tapered" door lock or an anti-theft device that has a visible indicator.

 

Aid to Recovery: Some valuables can't be taken out of the vehicle, such as a stereo or speakers. When installing custom sound equipment, record the serial numbers and/or engrave your driver's license on the items before installation. If stolen, those numbers could make a difference in locating and recovering the property, and prosecuting the thieves.

 

Again, if you see suspicious activity, on the street or in a parking lot, or to report any theft from your vehicle, please call the Takoma Park Police at 301-270-1100.