A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE APOPKA POLICE DEPARTMENT:
The Apopka Police Department, like many police agencies, constantly deals with the problem of vehicle burglaries. Thefts from vehicles can occur at any time and at any place, even in your driveway. It is important to remember, these crimes are often ‘crimes of opportunity’ and are easily preventable.
In the first week of January, 18 auto burglaries have been reported to the Apopka Police Department. All of these auto burglaries have had no forced entry. Although Apopka police officers have made four arrests and have identified two other offenders, clearing many of these cases, the problem continues and more of you are becoming victims of this type of crime.
These crimes are generally committed by offenders waking through neighborhoods trying to find unlocked car doors. If they find an open door, they remove all the items of value. Rarely, do the offenders forcibly enter a vehicle. When they do, it is usually because a valuable item is left out in the open, readily visible and available to be taken.
What's your car telling thieves? Hopefully not, "Come in here! Take my stuff!”
Take a moment to help yourself by following these simple tips:
When out shopping or working, park in a well-lit and well-traveled area. Thieves usually choose dark areas and avoid crowded ones.
When your car is parked outside your residence, remove all your property, lock your car and leave the outside lights on.
Don’t leave a GPS or other small electronics where they can be seen. Laptop computers, cell phones, aftermarket car stereo systems, video systems (often mounted in headrests), even purses and wallets, are a variety of “window shopping” goodies criminals enjoy.
Mark any electronics or valuable items with an owner applied number or indicator on it so it can be identified if found. If the item has a serial number, write it down and keep it in the house. If the item is taken, it will help law enforcement to recover it.
Be aware of your surroundings. At home, know who your neighbors are. If someone doesn’t belong, call the police. Many vehicle burglaries in neighborhoods are committed by youths or young adults, traveling in teams, walking through neighborhoods and looking for unlocked vehicles. If you see something, say something.
LOCK YOUR VEHICLE. Yes, it only takes a few seconds to break a window, but doing so makes noise – and criminals hate making noise. We usually lock our vehicles when we are at work or shopping, but then leave them unlocked in our driveway. The majority of vehicle burglaries happen at night while the vehicle is at home. Don’t be a victim: Always lock your vehicle and take your valuables inside.
Not every crime can be prevented, but often, simple steps can reduce the ability and/or opportunity to commit a crime.
If you have questions, or need more information, please call the Apopka Police Department’s public education unit at 407-703-1771.