Police campaign combats car break-ins

School kids aren’t the only ones getting report cards this week.

Rocky Mount police are out in force, visually checking vehicles for valuables left out in the open that could attract thieves. Cars with easily identifiable no-nos are getting a bad grade.

Retail shoppers need to make sure they lock their items in the trunk before going to eat at a restaurant or shop at another store, said Rocky Mount police Cpl. Mike Lewis.

“Auto break-ins are crimes of opportunity,” Lewis said. “Automobile break-ins are one of the most preventable crimes.”

It only takes 30 seconds for a crook to break into a car and steal valuables. In 20 seconds, those valuables can be locked in the trunk, according to the Vehicle Break-In Report Card being issued by police. The pamphlets are being placed under windshield wipers. Police aren’t entering any vehicles.

With school out and the warmer weather, more people are out and about, and some of them are looking for easy targets. Don’t make it easy for them, Lewis said.

Vehicle break-ins are a national problem, but Rocky Mount is taking a proactive approach with the report cards, Lewis said.

Folks simply need to lock up their cellphones, purses, cameras, firearms and any other item that might draw the attention of a thief.

“Lock your valuables in the trunk,” Lewis said. “Auto break-ins can happen while your car is parked at home, the mall or work.”

Lewis stressed that officers aren’t opening vehicles, just making a visual check.

The police department has received positive feedback about the program.

A resident posted a comment on the police department’s Facebook page showing appreciation for the report card checks.

“Thank you for going above and beyond and doing a car check in our neighborhood to make sure our cars are safe from possible break-ins,” the post said.

Folks should make sure any mounting brackets for GPS or other electronic devices aren’t visible. Many thieves are culling vehicles for personal information to use in identity theft. And a garage door opener and a vehicle registration could spell tragedy in the wrong hands, according to the pamphlet.

Police encourage residents to:

■ Close their windows and lock their doors.

■ Remove valuables or place them in the trunk.

■ Remove pullout or face-plate radios.

■ Don’t leave keys or firearms in the car.

■ Never leave a car running.

Suspicious activity should always be reported to police by dialing 911. The Rocky Mount Police Department’s non-emergency number is 972-1411. The crime prevention line is 972-1466.


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