Police advise residents to lock car doors
Police Chief Brian Levesque and the Dartmouth Police Department are advising residents keep their vehicles secure to prevent break-ins and avoid being easy targets for thieves this season.
According to a press release from the department, summer is the most popular season for vehicle thefts and break-ins. July is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. NHTSA statistics show that more than 40 percent of the 770,000 vehicles stolen each year are never recovered.
Parts like radios and wheel covers as well as other valuable items like GPS units, cellphones, laptops, and purses left in vehicles are also targets for thieves, the release states.
“Most vehicle break-ins are crimes of opportunity and often occur when valuables, like purses or cellphones, are left inside cars," Chief Levesque said. "We recommend always locking your car and bringing all valuables with you when exiting your vehicle.”
The NHTSA and Dartmouth Police remind vehicle owners to use common sense when parking. Some tips include:
- -Take your keys. Don’t leave them in your vehicle.
- -Close all windows and lock all doors.
- -Never leave valuables in your vehicle. Anything stored inside your vehicle should be out of sight or in the trunk.
- -Never leave credit cards/debit cards, cash or your wallet or purse inside of your vehicle overnight.
- -Park in well-lit areas with good visibility or inside a garage if possible. Install lights with motion sensors near where you park your vehicle.
- -Get in the routine of double-checking that your vehicle is locked and secure each night around 9 p.m.
- If your vehicle has been stolen or broken into, follow these steps:
- -Call the police to report a theft or break-in. A copy of the police report and/or a case number will be needed to provide to your insurance company.
- -You may be asked to provide the license plate number, make, model and color of the car, the VIN number and any identifying characteristics.
- -Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen or broken into.
- -If you find your vehicle before authorities, contact the police immediately and then your insurance company.