TRI-STATE (WFIE) - Your vehicle can be broken into at any time of the year, but during the holidays, you don’t want to make it any easier for car thieves, especially if you have holiday gifts inside your vehicle.
“It is amazing how much you can just walk by a car and in 30 seconds look in the car and see all kinds of items that you may want,” says EPD Crime Prevention Officer Anna Gray.
It can be as simple as leaving your car unlocked, something most of us are probably guilty of on occasion. Patti Weber did it just recently.
“A lady came out and said, Patti you know your purse is in the car? I said yeah. She said, well your car is unlocked. I said oh you’re kidding me,” says Weber.
Luckily for Weber, she didn’t become a victim but she certainly could have. The Evansville Police Department says its not that more criminals are out during the holidays, but the opportunity for crime increases.
“It just so happens, around the holidays we have a lot of people going out shopping, so again, shopping centers are full of vehicles and so it’s a crime of opportunity,” says Gray.
Gray along with many other EPD officers often pass out flyers with tips so people can remember not to leave valuable items in their cars.
They even place security checklists on windshields, but even when doing so, she said you’d be amazed at what they see. Gray says you can see purses and bags, easily visible inside vehicles.
So what should you do if you have to leave the items you just bought inside your car?
Weber says, she always brings a blanket to cover her items.
“If you look in my trunk right now, I’ve got a blanket in there covering everything up!”
Officer Gray says you should also look around as you are loading up your car, and store the items in your trunk if possible.
“Maybe take a glance around, just to look and make sure nobody is watching you put all of these items in the trunk. You don’t want to advertise what you have because they are not going to take the time to get into your vehicle, most of the time, if there is nothing in there that they see that they want,” says Gray.
She says you should try to not leave any valuable items in your vehicle for an extended period of time. Making sure nothing is in plain view, and locking up makes all the difference. However, If it does happen to you, Officer Gray says you should report it. That will allow EPD to track where the crimes are happening.
“We can’t be everywhere all of the time. We can’t sit somewhere and try to watch over a neighborhood or a shopping center. The biggest thing is trying to get the word out to people that these are some things you can do to prevent being a target," says Gray.