Police advise always lock car doors, keep valuables hidden

(Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

(Pioneer photo/Justin McKee)

BIG RAPIDS — Making a habit of securing a vehicle is the easiest way to deter would-be criminals from stealing items out of a parked car.

“No matter how long you will be away from the vehicle, it’s best to keep it locked and secured,” said Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Detective Brian Miller. “Don’t leave things sitting on the seat, especially objects of value.”

Loose change, purses, wallets and electronics, such as phones, tablets and other media devices, are often taken from vehicles. Most people will not break in to search a vehicle for valuables, but may attempt to gain access if an item can be seen from outside the car, Miller said.

Leaving electronics and other objects in plain sight is like having a bait pile for a deer, Miller said. These items left in vehicles are just an invitation for someone to try getting into the vehicle.

“We don’t have smash and grab incidents — where someone breaks a window to get in a vehicle — on regular basis,” Miller said. “But we do have our fair share of thefts from autos, with most being from unlocked vehicles when people didn’t take the time to lock the car.”

According to data from the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting website, there were 68 reported incident of larceny theft from a motor vehicle in Mecosta County in 2014, the most recent year available. That same year, there were 23 incidents in Osceola County.

Osceola County Undersheriff Justin Halladay encourages resident to park in a well-lit area at night when possible.

“If that’s not possible, make sure to park in an area which is easily seen,” Halladay said. “And no matter where you park, make sure you are not leaving valuables in sight.”

Even when it’s hot outside, Halladay suggests rolling up windows as part of securing the vehicle.

“With the windows down, it’s just making it even easier to get into your vehicle,” he said.

Miller suggests getting in the routine of always properly locking a vehicle.

“It’s just like putting on a seat belt every time you get in your car,” he said. “When you get out of your car, you should lock it each time.”

avatar

Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

Leave a Reply