Police warn of vehicle burglaries

Provide tips to avoid becoming a victim 

CENTER — The Center Police Department is notifying people in the Center area to be cautious regarding an increase in vehicle burglaries in town.

“We have several vehicles that have been entered in the Casa de Cortez and Tierra Nueva complexes," CPD Chief Dale Meek said. "The vehicles have all been unlocked and several items have been taken. This is the first outbreak of vehicle burglaries we have had in over a year. Please make sure you and your loved ones are locking your vehicles. Do not leave any cash, firearms, purses, or valuable items in the vehicles…. Especially in plain view. Always notify law enforcement if you see suspicious subjects. These behaviors would include people carrying backpacks in the early morning hours as school is not in session and very few are heading to the gym or work during these hours. Watch for people loitering around vehicles or pulling on door handles. When you call dispatchers, try to have a description of the person with where they are or where they are headed. Take a photo or video if it is safe to do so. Please know your neighbors and when they are home or when they are away.”

CPD also offered some tips to help people avoid becoming a victim of car burglary.

  • Remember to always lock your car and put the keys in your pocket as 20% of all stolen vehicles have keys already in them.
  • It is also important to lock the trunk as well as the hatchback or the tailgate of the station wagon or sport utility vehicle (SUV).
  • Do not leave your vehicle registration, insurance policies, credit cards, or other important papers in the glove compartment.
  • Checkbooks, credit cards, or other credentials, which a thief could misuse, should not be left in a vehicle.
  • When at the gas station, convenience store, or any other store, do not leave the keys in the vehicle when you go inside.
  • Never hide a second set of keys in your vehicle, instead store a spare key in your wallet or purse.
  • Avoid parking next to vans, pickups, and other large vehicles as the large vehicles can hide your vehicle and make it more difficult for others to observe any type of suspicious behavior.
  • Periodically check your license plates to make sure they haven't been stolen, switched, or altered.
  • Don't invite a vehicle burglary by leaving packages or valuables, such as radar detectors, in plain sight.
  • Take valuables with you, put them under the seat, or lock them in the trunk.
  • Park in well-lit and busy areas.
  • For each vehicle you own record the following information and keep it in a safe location, but not in the vehicle; make and model, model year, plate number, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), color, insurance information, and any special attributes (like dents, stickers).
  • Use a locking gas cap, not only to prevent theft of gasoline but also to limit a thief to the amount of driving the thief can do on one tank of gasoline.

These are just some simple tips that everyone should do to help to avoid becoming a crime victim.