When living in a small town, the thought of being a victim of auto burglary probably doesn’t cross one’s mind. However, this crime happens quite often and makes up a fair portion of offenses committed around the United States, including both Carbon and Emery counties.
In 2016, the number of auto burglary cases that were reported just in Price City alone exceeded 100. An increase in this crime tends to happen in the spring throughout the fall season due to the weather warming up and school being out for the summer. To prevent becoming a victim of an auto burglary, the responsibility falls upon each individual.
Speaking with Price City Police Detectives Nick Bates and David Wilkinson, as well as a little research, ETV 10 News pertained different prevention methods that one can use to reduce the possibility of becoming a victim of such crime.
The first step is to always lock vehicle doors. Both detectives explained that about 98% of auto burglary cases they investigate could have been prevented if the individual would have just locked their car doors. Another part of locking a car includes rolling up windows. Windows make it an easy access for burglars to enter a vehicle and steal belongings. Many vehicle owners tend to leave windows cracked on hot summer days to allow a car to be cooler when entered. However, thieves can possess an object that can be snuck through the small crack in order to unlock the door.
Today, many vehicles include the luxury of an alarm system. Having a working alarm system in a vehicle can protect the owner from becoming a victim in many ways. One, when a window is broken or the car is locked but is then unlocked from the inside, the alarm will sound. This will create a scene and draw attention to the car which will then startle the thief and hopefully scare them off.
Detective Wilkinson stated that it is important to leave all expensive items out of the vehicle or at least out of sight. It was then mentioned to also leave chargers and cords out of sight. If left out, this could indicate that there are possibly expensive items, such as cell phones, in the car which can then give reasoning for auto burglary to occur.
If access to a garage is possible, make sure to park inside of it. This greatly reduces the chance of becoming a victim because the vehicle is out of sight. Also, try not to park on the street. Both detectives explained that it is easy for people passing by to check door handles to see if the vehicle is unlocked. Also, when parked on the street, it is easier for people to drive or walk by and smash windows. Parking on the street also makes it less visible for owners to see their vehicle.
A few other tips that the detectives mentioned were to have motion lights on your home and, if possible, invest in a surveillance system. Detective Bates explained that it can be hard to prosecute an auto burglary without footage of the crime itself. An example was made from a recent theft that occurred where detectives received footage from the victim’s neighbor of the actual crime being carried out. Because of surveillance, it should be easier to prosecute the suspect.
When investing in security cameras, make sure that the footage can be transferred, reviewed and saved. The detectives explained that sometimes individuals will purchase cameras but won’t be able to export the data from the system. It is also important to make sure to have a large variety of area covered including the streets. Motion-censored lights can play a huge role in preventing an auto burglary as well. Make sure that the light will spread all the way through the yard.
“Drugs and theft all go hand-in-hand,” stated Detective Wilkinson. He then went on to explain that thieves will steal from others so that they can sell the items or trade them for drugs.
Anywhere we go, there will always be crime even in small towns. Detective Wilkinson stressed that you shouldn’t have to change your lifestyle and be victimized. Instead, be cautious by taking extra steps like the ones given above.