Vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity; 90% of thefts from vehicles can be attributed to unlocked vehicles and valuables left in plain sight. You can minimize their chances of being a victim by taking a few simple steps:
- Keep all car doors and windows closed and locked – even if it’s a quick errand. This sounds like common sense, but about 30% of vehicle burglaries are from vehicles where the doors were not locked or a window was down.
- Do not leave valuables or packages in plain sight in your vehicle. This may sound like a simple solution, but it happens all the time where items of value are left in plain view. It automatically makes you a target. If you must leave valuables in the car, put them in the trunk.
- If your vehicle has a built in security system, use it. If you don’t have a security system installed, it may be worth the investment - it may also qualify you for a discount on your auto insurance.
- Park your vehicle in an area that is visible to the public and well-lit at night. If possible, park your car in the garage. If garage parking is not available, the next best option is to park your car in the driveway and install motion-sensor security lighting on your home.
- Never leave an electronic garage opener in the car. It can provide a thief easy access to your home.
- Headed to the beach? Burglars are, too. When you pack the car, bring as few items as possible with you - leave jewelry, watches, laptops, etc at home. Keep any necessary valuables like keys, identification, and credit cards on your person.
- Keep a list of serial numbers (include make and model information, as well) for the commonly used electronic equipment you may keep in the car, like stereo faceplates, etc. Keep a copy of this inventory in a safe place such as a safe deposit box. We also suggest that you engrave your driver’s license number on your valuables to aid in their recovery, should they be lost or stolen.
- If your car is burglarized, please report it to the Police Department immediately.
These simple steps should be used whenever you park your car, whether you are just “running in for a minute” or parking for the evening.
In addition to protecting your own property from criminals, you can be a good neighbor by watching out for suspicious persons or activities in your area. No one knows a neighborhood better than the people who live there, so the Police Department depends on the assistance of concerned, responsible residents to report suspicious persons or activity. If you see something that looks suspicious, call 9-1-1. Suspicious activity may include:
- A person looking into parked cars may be looking for a car to steal or for valuables left in plain view inside.
- The sound of breaking glass or car alarm could mean a vehicle break-in.
- Any vehicle without lights at night, cruising slowly, or following a course that seems aimless or repetitive is suspicious in any location. Occupants may be "casing" for a burglary.
- Persons walking around a neighborhood pulling on car door handles may be looking for unlocked vehicles to steal from.
Residents are encouraged to call 9-1-1 immediately about all suspicious activity. Don’t worry about feeling embarrassed if your suspicions are wrong; think instead about what could happen if your suspicions are right and you don't call. It is the Police Department’s job to investigate suspicious matters, and any assistance in spotting suspicious persons or activities is appreciated.
The Manhattan Beach Police Department would like to stress the importance of prevention - by simply being cognizant and taking a few simple steps in securing one’s property, the chances of becoming a victim of property theft can be considerably reduced.