Though it's a sensible practice year-round, the department is issuing the reminder after a string of incidents in recent days that could have been prevented with a simple turn of a key -- or push of a button.
Over the past 10 days, the department said numerous larcenies have occurred from unlocked vehicles. And in four cases, actual cars have been stolen.
"All of these thefts have occurred during the overnight hours," the department said in a post on its Facebook page. "Residents are reminded to lock their vehicles and secure their valuables."
The department is also asking residents to report any suspicious vehicles or people to police.
Along with making sure your car is locked, there are a few other measures that can be taken to drastically reduce your chance of being a victim:
- Keep valuables out of sight. If something has to stay in your car, put it in the glove box or trunk.
- A thief doesn't know if that pocketbook or bookbag in your car is empty. To a thief, any item could contain valuables. Eliminate the temptation by putting it out of sight.
- Leave a light on outside to illuminate your driveway or parking area. If you're concerned about wasting electricity, invest in an LED or compact fluorescent bulb. Consider the expense of a smashed window or stolen valuables -- does a few pennies per night to run a bulb outweigh peace of mind?
- If you can, park your car close to your house or near a window. A thief will be drawn to areas they know are hard to monitor.
- Invest in a security camera. Newer systems are easy to install and affordable. And some kits can be self-installed and wirelessly transmit to your home computer or even your iPad or smartphone. Getting a camera mounted outside might be easier than you think! And even if a thief comes and is thwarted by other measures, such as locked doors, you might capture him or her on video, which can help police catch someone responsible for other crimes nearby.
- Keep your car clean. A cluttered car is an invitation. Not only is driving in a tidy car more enjoyable, it makes it all that much easier to clear out valuables at the end of the day.
- Store your change out of sight. You might be surprised that someone would smash a window for a few coins, but many culprits aren't career criminals. They're often battling addiction and desperate for anything to help them get their next fix. And for them, even a few coins can be worth the risk.