Editorial: Electronics play a major role in attracting thieves to vehicles
We love our mobile devices.But so do thieves, and that has a lot to do with the rash of vehicle break-ins that have plagued our area this year.
In recent weeks, neighborhoods on Huntington's East End have seen multiple break-ins on the same night. Especially in apartment parking lots and areas with a lot of on street parking, it seems all too easy to test the locks on a series of cars in a short time or even break a window or two and quickly move on.
Many of the items stolen are those trappings of our information age -- GPS systems, iPads, iPods, laptops -- but the old fashioned purse or cash are targets, too.
Insurance companies estimate there were about 1.85 million vehicle break-ins last year, with more than a billion dollars in property stolen.
As victims know, losing your possessions is bad enough, but the damage to vehicles and windows often means hundreds of dollars in additional expense.
But there are some simple steps that residents can take to make their vehicles less likely as targets. While some thieves are attempting to steal the vehicle itself, most are after the valuables left inside. Particularly the smaller electronics can be grabbed quickly and sold easily.
So, step one is to avoid leaving these items in your vehicle or at least where they can be seen. Keep those items with you or put them in the trunk -- not the glove box.
Experts with Nationwide Insurance take that a step further, recommending that motorists put these items in the trunk before they reach the parking lot. Thieves sometimes stake out an area and watch what you are taking out and where you put it. Also, do not forget the accessories. Power plugs, MP3 adapters and navigation system windshield suction-cup mounts, all leave "telltale" evidence of what might be in the car, Nationwide says.
The advice is the same for any type of purse or even spare change that is visible on a seat or console.
It is a sad commentary that thieves will break a $300 window for a few dollars in change, but it happens.
Insurance companies also stress the basics -- locking your vehicle, parking in well lit areas, arming auto alarm systems and communicating with neighbors and the police about suspicious activities.
This may all sound like a lot of trouble, but so is that break-in.