EDITORIAL: We can do more to stop automatic break-ins | Opinion


Burglars have been busy this summer, with a recent spate of vehicle break-ins. As the students return to town, it just continues. An additional concern is the number of vehicle break-ins that have involved the theft of firearms from unlocked vehicles. This is a major concern.

Last month, we reported that there have been more than 145 auto entry cases in the town of Milledgeville alone since January. In some of these cases, vehicle owners have left the keys inside the ignition, making it easier for the thief to start and start it.

Many tips for preventing theft of your vehicle seem like common sense: lock your car doors, prevent valuables from being visible inside your vehicle, try to park in well-lit areas, do not leave your engine running unattended, etc.

But sadly, many of us don’t follow these simple rules, whether it’s a false sense of security, oblivion, or chance.

Although the number of such thefts is of concern to authorities, as the majority of them could be prevented, they are more concerned about the number of stolen firearms from vehicles. This is particularly dangerous and gun owners should ensure that they leave their guns in unlocked vehicles. It’s dangerous and impractical, and it’s just not safe.

Police Chief Dray Swicord estimated that 90 percent of vehicles reported as burglary within Milledgeville city limits were left unlocked with keys inside.

The National Crime Prevention Council reports that vehicle theft is generally a “crime of expediency”.

“Auto theft can happen quickly,” the council said on its website. “An unoccupied car, with its engine left running by the owner, can be stolen in seconds. No geographic area, make or model of car is immune to theft.”

The National Crime Prevention Council offers these tips to protect your vehicle from theft:

• Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you are away from it, even for “just a minute”.

• Always roll up the windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of you.

• Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk or at least out of sight. Buy radios and cassette and CD players that can be removed and locked in the trunk.

• Park in busy, well-lit areas.

• Carry the registration and insurance card with you. Do not leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.

• When paying to park in a car park or garage, only leave the ignition key with the attendant. Make sure that no personal information is attached. Do the same when you take your car for repairs.

• Install a mechanical locking device – commonly known as sticks, collars, or J-bars – that locks to the steering wheel, column or brake to prevent the steering wheel from turning more than a few degrees.

• Investigate security systems if you live in an area where thefts are frequent or if you drive an automobile which is an attractive target for thieves. You can get a discount on your auto insurance.

Drivers: Lock your doors. Do not leave valuables inside your vehicle or, if you must, place them out of sight.

Do not become a victim of this crime of expediency.

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