Thieves are targeting unlocked vehicles more than ever in Collier County, and Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk is calling on the community to help stop the trend.
Seventy-six percent of the vehicle break-ins in Collier County this year have happened to unlocked cars. That’s up significantly from last year, when 68 percent of the vehicle break-ins targeted unlocked cars.
CCSO is launching a massive public safety campaign called “You Hold The Key.” Over the next several months CCSO will be reminding the community about the importance of locking car doors. The message will be shared through www.colliersheriff.org, public service announcements on CCSO’s monthly “On Scene” television show, through social media and at Crime Prevention events. In addition, deputies will reinforce the message during one-on-one encounters with members of the community.
If motorists simply remove their valuables and lock their doors, the number of vehicle break-ins will go down, said Collier County Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk.
“We are asking the community to partner with us to keep Collier County safe,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “There is no doubt that when you lock your car you are helping us prevent crime.”
In 2009, 665 of the 972 vehicle burglaries reported to CCSO involved unlocked cars. To date this year, 694 of the 914 vehicle break-ins happened to cars that weren’t locked.
Vehicle break-ins are crimes of opportunity. Many thieves pull on door handles until they find an unlocked vehicle. Thieves also tend to look through vehicle windows to see if there are any valuables inside. That’s why CCSO recommends that motorists either remove valuables from their vehicle or stow them away out of view.
Here are more ways you can keep your vehicle safe:
• Remove all valuables or keep them out of sight. This is particularly important with GPS systems, laptops and iPods. Make sure to remove all base mounts, cords and chargers from view as well.
• Remember to lock your doors even when your car is parked at home. That’s where most unlocked vehicle burglaries happen. Of the 694 unlocked cars targeted by thieves so far this year, 380 were parked at a single-family residence at the time of the burglary, and another 179 were parked at an apartment or condominium.
• If your vehicle is broken into, report it to law enforcement even if nothing significant was taken. The more information investigators have about these crimes, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to identify and stop the people committing them.