The Dover Police Department is issuing a warning to citizens after a recent spike in vehicle thefts, specifically those left running/unsecured while the owners are not present. The practice of leaving your vehicle running unattended, even in your own driveway, significantly increases the chances of your vehicle being stolen as it is a quick and easy target for car thieves. The risk of a running vehicle being stolen increases even more when that vehicle is left running at a public place such as a convenience store or gas station while the owner walks away for a short time. The Dover Police Department recommends the following tips to protect you and your vehicle:
- Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you are away from it, even for “just a minute.”
- Keep valuables out of sight or in the trunk. Purses, credit cards, and cell phones in plain view only help attract thieves.
- Always roll up the windows and lock your car, even if it is in your driveway, garage, or in front of your home.
- Never leave the vehicle title in your car. If stolen, it makes it easier for the thief to dispose of your vehicle. It can also make you a target for identity theft.
- Be alert when approaching your car, have a plan of action, and have your keys in your hand. Check around, under, and in your vehicle for suspicious individuals. Immediately leave the scene to get help if you have any concerns for your safety.
- Only park your car in busy, well-lit areas.
Install a mechanical locking device – commonly called a club, collar, or j-bar – that locks to the steering wheel, column, or brake.
- If your vehicle has an alarm or other anti-theft device, USE IT.