Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Local News

December 11, 2009

Officials: Lock your vehicle

APD reports of car burglaries are on the rise, GPS and other electronics targeted by thieves

While Christmas shoppers are looking for the best bargain, others are hoping to pick up some valuables the easy way.

Athens Police Department reports of car burglaries are on the rise and Chief Buddy Hill says anything the would-be thief can see is an inviting target. Recent burglaries have resulted in the loss of global positioning systems and other electronics as well as check books and credit cards. The GPS — which displays traffic and weather information — are becoming more common and can be snatched quickly if left in the car.

“Several of the burglaries we’ve gone to lately have involved an unlocked car,” Hill said. “Even if your car is in your driveway, lock your car.”

The best practice, Hill said, is to remove the valuables from the car when you leave it.

Two burglary victims reporting break-ins Thursday were not so fortunate. The thieves broke open their car windows to grab GPS systems. One occurred at a residence in the 2100 block of East Tyler Street and the other in the 900 block of East Corsicana Street.

Christmas shoppers often get in a hurry and leave their purchases in plain view.

“They sometimes don’t take the steps they would normally take to be resistant to the crime,” Hill said. “They get caught up in the hustle and bustle and make themselves easy targets.”

APD has issued some tips for shoppers who might be taking valuables to and from cars during holiday shopping.

• Always roll up the windows and lock the doors when leaving a vehicle.

• Always lock purses, packages and other valuables in the trunk. The old trick of leaving them in the back seat with a blanket over them is not effective — it still looks like packages under a blanket to a thief.

• All electronic equipment — including stereos, cell phones and radar detectors — should be kept out of sight.

• After shopping, if you feel uneasy about returning to your car alone, ask a store employee to accompany you through the parking lot.

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