How to Prevent an Auto Burglary

Over the last two weeks, there have been several Auto Burglaries reported to the City of Ridgeland Police Department. Our investigation has shown that in each incident, valuables were left in plain sight inside the vehicle. Please take heed to the warnings, and don’t be a victim. Please see the information below. Following these simple suggestions could mean the difference in you being a victim or not.

Don’t leave valuables in your car
If you must leave valuable items in your car while out and about, place items out of sight before reaching your destination or move them inconspicuously.

Leave no trace
Don’t leave any “sign” that there might be valuables “out of sight” in your vehicle, such as docking stations or connector cables. Leave nothing in “plain sight” that might make your vehicle worth “investigating” by a thief; not even loose coins or a CD.

Try to park in busy, well-lighted areas
Try to park in well-traveled areas. Large anonymous lots are hit by thieves much more often than parking immediately adjacent to residential housing or other occupied buildings. . Auto-burglars prefer breaking into cars where they will not be observed or attract notice, and choose their targets accordingly.

Lock ALL your vehicle’s doors
Even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time, lock your doors. Every year, we have items stolen from unlocked vehicles where the owner was only going to be gone “just for a second”. It only takes seconds to steal your stuff! It’s not at all uncommon for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles and check vehicle doors to see if they are unlocked. Don’t leave any window open or even cracked open, including vent/wing windows and sunroofs

Set any alarm or anti-theft device
If you have one, use it! Many people believe that car-alarms no longer make a difference, but they can be an effective deterrent to an auto-burglar, who most often chooses the easiest target. If they have two cars to choose from, one with an alarm and one without, they will likely burglarize the one without (unless you’ve left out valuables just too good to ignore!)

Items Most Commonly Stolen from Vehicles
Backpacks, gym bags, briefcases, day-planners
Cash/coins, checkbooks and credit/debit cards
Wallets and purses (even when hidden under a seat or in an unlocked glove compartment)
Laptop computers, iPods and MP3 players, and docking stations
Cell phones and chargers
Portable GPS navigation systems, Stereo/CD players and faceplates, amps, speakers (even when bolted down)
Jewelry, keys, mail (identity theft), tools
Anything of obvious value

Mark Your Valuables
As a last line of defense (not really to prevent theft as much as to aid in recovery), mark your valuables. Recording serial numbers is great, but nowadays many serial numbers are on removable “labels”, rather than “engraved” into valuable items. Also, a serial number doesn’t “directly” link you to your stolen property. We’d suggest inscribing/engraving a “personal identifier” on all valuables.

What to do if something is stolen out of your car
As soon as you notice something’s stolen (or that your car has been broken into) do not touch/adjust anything in, on, or around the car. As soon as possible, call the police to report the incident.

Mike Raffield
Communications Supervisor
Crime Prevention Specialist