EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - You hear about the most wanted criminals, but what about the stuff criminals want most?
We found it's anything that can be stolen quickly and easily, then converted to cash.
Terry Bolin found that out the hard way. He always locks his car doors, except the time he didn't.
"They just went through the glove boxes and threw everything out, looking for things that they might be able to sell," said Bolin.
Officer Eric Krogman is one of nine crime prevention officers in the Evansville Police Department.
He says It's not hard to guess the number one thing criminals want.
"Cash is king, and cash is the easiest thing," said Officer Krogman.
Then there are the things that can be easily sold for cash, especially if it's easy pickings.
"If there are items in plain view, a purse, a wallet, you name it. That's going to be a pretty easy thing for them to obtain and get on down the street," said Officer Krogman.
Tom Littlepage gets on down the street on a regular basis, for a very different reason.
"I can go on any street inside of our boundaries and 'go good guy, bad guy, good guy, bad guy, neutral guy,'" said Littlepage.
Littlepage is the president of the Southeast Side Neighborhood Association. He's says alarms, personal firearms and dogs are all good deterrents to crime, but the best alarm system is an organized neighborhood where people know each other and work together when the criminals invade.
"If they come through here, and all the cars are locked, and all the doors are locked, and houses, and everybody's looking out for each other, they make a note, 'don't go back there, let's go three streets over,' and then they go three streets over, and then they mess with people who are not organized," said Littlepage.
Littlepage has two simple rules for protecting your car. Lock it, and don't leave valuables inside.
As for your house, Officer Krogman says replace those half-inch screws in your dead bolt with three inches screws because those little ones make it easy to break your door down.
"Whereas if you put these three inch screws in, they're into that 2x4 that's in the wall. It makes it so much more difficult to get that door open," said Officer Krogman.
All this is about being pro-active, getting involved, and becoming a hard target instead of a sitting duck.
"They want to come home, put their earbuds in, watch Netflix, and let the police handle it. If that's your strategy, well, good luck, you're probably going to be a victim some day," said Littlepage.