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Police Urge Caution to Prevent Car Break Ins

Public safety officials believe common sense measures can seriously reduce risk of car break ins

Police Urge Caution to Prevent Car Break Ins

As the countless Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads remind us, the holiday season is now in high gear. Everyone wants to have a good time and retailers want consumers to spend lots of money.

So do the bad guys.

Police in several communities are urging people to use basic common safety tips to prevent thefts from autos, particularly when they have lots of gifts inside, and of the automobiles themselves.

“Especially with the holiday season upon us, a lot of people who go shopping leave their purchases within sight of the vehicle,” Winnetka Deputy Police Chief Joe Pellus said.

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Pellus added thieves often do not want to risk breaking into a locked car since that will likely attract attention to themselves. So by taking some common sense precautions, people can lower the risk of being a victim of a crime.

Case in point was a recent rash of burglaries in Northfield in late October on the 1700 Block of Harding Rd. and the 100 and 200 Blocks of Riverside Dr. when eleven cars were broken into with laptops, prescription drugs and a GPS among the items taken. The local police let the community know in an e-newsletter that all of these thefts occurred in unlocked cars.

Just north, in Glencoe, a similar sentiment can be heard.

“In our town it basically involves overnight burglaries where vehicles are left unlocked and valuables are clearly visible,” said Glencoe Deputy Police Chief Alan Kebby. “That involved people leaving their GPS units on their dashboards and spare change in their counsels, high prices sunglasses and an occasional laptop. These are crimes of opportunity, the doors were unlocked. They are not smash and grabs.”

Thefts to automobiles are sharply down this year in Glencoe. There were 45 last year, only eight of them this year. Kebby believes the police are being deployed to the right area, which has led to the drop.

 “A certain group might hit a certain area and they might hit 15 cars in a night,” Kebby said. “We are beefing up our patrols to be more vigilant and we are trying to let the public know what is going on in other times.”

The basic preventative measure comes down to urging drivers to lock their doors and put their purchases in the trunk, activate their car alarm and park in lighted areas.

While there were the aforementioned problems in Northfield, the long-term statistics have been much more stable with an average of just over 26 burglaries from motor vehicles over the past four years.

In Winnetka, police reported nine car burglaries over the last four years.

Of the four thefts that have occurred in 2012, one was on the 500 block of Chestnut Street; one was on the 7000 block of Sheridan Road, another on the 400 block of Providence Avenue and the last one being on the 1200 block of Lindenwood Drive.

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