LAPD Olympic Division Captain Tina Nieto speaks to the rash of property crimes that we are experiencing throughout the Olympic Division (and the Wilshire Division, too). She offers some advice and is backed up by some of her Senior Lead Officers who echo what they are seeing in their specific areas if the Division. LAPD recommended Vehicle Security Tips are at the bottom of this post.
- An unlocked car is an open invitation to a car thief. Lock up when you leave your car, and take the keys with you.
- Lock the trunk or tailgate.
- Close all windows — professional thieves have tools that unlock cars through the smallest openings.
- Be sure vent or wind-wing windows are shut tight.
- When you park the car, remove cellular phones, cassette players and other valuable possessions. Do not leave gift-wrapped packages or cameras lying on the seat. Lock all valuables in your trunk or take them with you.
- Lock your car even if you are making a quick stop at the gas station, convenience store or mini-mall.
- Don’t leave an auto in unattended public parking lots for an extended period. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or attended lot.
- If possible, park your car in a lot where you don’t have to leave your keys.
- Never attach a tag with your name and address to your key ring. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to your car and your home. If you have to leaveyour keys with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key.
- At night, park in well-lit areas with lots of people around.
- Turn wheels sharply toward the curb when parking, this makes it extra difficult for thieves to tow your car.
- With an electric engraver, etch your driver’s license number (preceded by the letters “CA”) on cassette players and other valuable items.
- Record your vehicle identification number (located on a small metal plate on the dashboard of newer cars) and store it in a safe place.
- Keep the vehicle registration in your wallet or purse, not in your car.
- Use anti-theft devices.
- When buying a car, check the manufacturer’s list of anti-theft options, such as interior hood and trunk releases, locking steering columns and others.
- Consider the purchase and installation of security devices, such as:
- Interior hood lock release.
- Second ignition switch or “kill switch” to prevent electrical current from reaching the coil distributor.
- Fuel switch to prevent fuel from reaching the carburetor.
- Locking gas cap.
- Locking devices for batteries, wheels, decks, etc.
- Alarm device to activate a siren, horn or lights – or all three – to frighten the thief away.
- Device that attaches to the steering wheel or brake pedal.