Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox has seen more than enough car burglaries this summer.
“Nobody is breaking into these cars,” he said. “They don’t have to.”
“The thieves are simply pulling the handles of cars parked in driveways and parking lots,” Fox explained.
The list of things taken include wallets, electronic equipment, GPS units, cameras, purses — even cash.
“For years I have been telling residents to lock their cars while in their driveways,” Fox said, “and, quite frankly, I’m running out of ways to say it.”
His counterparts in other area towns have said the same thing this summer.
Fair Lawn police had nearly a dozen reports of thefts from cars in the last week and a half of June.
Why it’s happening is less a function of the economy, they say, than it is of opporunity.
“In each case, the vehicle owner either left a car window partially open or one of the car doors unlocked,” Fair Lawn Sgt. Richard Schutlz said. “In each case where there was an item stolen, the items such as GPS units, wallets and such were left either out in the open or in an unlocked glove box or console.”
1. Eliminate the opportunity: Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle. Period.
2. Understand that adding an obstacle dramatically increases the chance a thief will leave your vehicle alone — the same as a dog, a motion detector light or an alarm will protect your home. “Push the button on your door clicker and lock the car,” Fox says.
“If the car is locked, they move on and your property is safe. If you have left your car unlocked, you will be a victim.”
3. Most car burglaries occur at night. So if you see someone suspicious in your neighborhood, DON’T HESITATE to call police. You are not bothering them. You are helping protect yourself and your neighbors.
4. It’s easy to forgot this when you stop at the post office, drug store or supermarket, but car thieves love the number of victims who literally drive right up with items for them to steal. No matter how quick a stop it is, take your valuables with you and lock your vehicle. You never know who’s lingering nearby.
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