Monday, August 11, 2008

Auto Theft and Burglary Prevention Tips

By Bobby Hamil, director of Public Safety, Clayton State University

Everyone can minimize the chance of having their vehicles either stolen or burglarized. Everything from the location of the vehicle to human carelessness can contribute to a vehicle related incident. Here are some ways to avoid them.

Always try and park in well lighted, highly visible areas of parking lots. When exiting your vehicle, ensure it is locked and do not leave valuable items inside the vehicle, whether in plain view or in the trunk area. Items frequently left in vehicles include laptops, briefcases and purses. All of these are particularly attractive to thieves.

Any personal items that must be left in vehicles, such as removable stereos, etc., should include engraved identification or serial numbers for aid in recovery. Retain these numbers in a separate location for easy retrieval if needed.

Although we are still in the hottest time of the year, do not leave unattended vehicles with the engine and air conditioning running for any period of time. Investment in crime deterrent devices such as The Club, alarms, or kill switches may inconvenience potential thieves enough to look for easier targets, thus making your investment worth the expense.

The best prevention tip is to simply be aware, and promptly report any suspicious activity in parking lots to the nearest police. These reports should not just be limited to activities related to your vehicle, but anything or anyone that arouses your concern or curiosity.

The most common reasons for vehicle theft are: personal use; intent to use in commission of another crime; joyriding; chopping and selling the parts; and resale of the vehicle. Vehicles frequently stolen include Cadillac Escalade, Jeep Cherokee, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry (which I drive).

The bottom line is to just be aware of your surroundings when entering or exiting vehicles, and to promptly report anything of a suspicious nature to the police. Timeliness can be invaluable in the investigative response.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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