By Dennis Nelson, Community Outreach and Policy Coordinator
Fall is arriving soon and with it daylight savings time will end. So going to your vehicle after work, picking up your children from after-school activities and sports, and even shopping in the evening will soon be done during dark hours.
Here are a few crime prevention tips to make the transition a little easier:
Every day law enforcement agencies take reports of stolen cars and items stolen from vehicles. Though nothing can prevent you from ever being a victim of such a crime, there are things you can do to lessen the odds of being victimized.
There are three elements a criminal must have to commit a crime: desire, ability and opportunity. Remove one and the crime will not occur. Of the three, we can control opportunity.
Most criminals who break into vehicles are opportunists and will look for the vehicle that is unlocked or that is locked but has valuables left inside. Even if your vehicle is locked and alarmed, if there are valuables in sight (even covered up) a window may be smashed to gain entry. This all can occur in a matter of seconds. Never make it easy for them!
Never leave your keys inside the vehicle.
Make sure that all windows are up all the way before locking your vehicle.
Always lock your vehicle, even if you are only going to be away from it for only a short time.
Always lock your vehicle, even if it is parked in your driveway, inside your garage or on the street in front of your residence.
If so equipped, make sure your vehicle alarm is activated whenever you exit/lock your vehicle.
Never leave valuables, (purses, wallets, cellular phones, cameras, laptops, etc.) inside your vehicle, even if it is locked.
Even if your vehicle is locked and alarmed, do not attempt to "hide" valuables under the seat or under an item of clothing in the vehicle.
If you have a removable faceplate on your stereo, always take it with you. Do not leave it in the glove compartment.
Please report any theft from your vehicle immediately to the Milton Police Department. It is up to you whether or not you choose to report this to your insurance company.
If you observe anyone acting suspiciously in the area of your vehicle, report it immediately to the Milton Police Department.
Never keep a "Hide-a-Key" in the wheel well. Criminals will usually look for a key. If they find one, they will use it to enter your vehicle or even steal it.
PARKING LOT SAFETY TIPS
Nothing you can do will protect you from being the victim of a crime 100 percent of the time; however, by practicing good crime prevention you can lessen your odds of being a victim.
Park under a parking lot light when you arrive to work or are returning from lunch. That way the area around your car will be well lit when you are leaving that night. This is also useful if you are shopping at night.
Always stay alert and be aware of your surroundings when walking to your car.
Have your keys already in hand when you approach your car. Searching for car keys can make you vulnerable.
Never leave packages, shopping bags, etc. on the seat or anywhere in the car.
Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with campers or vehicles with darkened windows.
If at all possible, employees should walk to their vehicles in groups when leaving work.
Carry a small flashlight and whistle on your key ring.
If you have a cell phone, keep it in hand while you walk to your car.
If you encounter someone near your vehicle, go back to your office (if you can do so safely) to contact the Milton Police Department. Report that someone is loitering and you are concerned to go to your car. If you cannot go back to your office, get to a safe place and dial 911 from your cell phone.