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Let’s work together to prevent theft from vehicles

Post Date:April 30, 2019 9:00 a.m.

According to nationwide statistics available from the FBI, 1.3 million thefts from autos occurred in 2016, with an average dollar value loss of $869 — a 6.5 percent increase over the previous year. Minnesota, however, does not rank in the top 10 states for auto thefts and related crimes.

Still, the St. Louis Park Police Department's analysis shows a seasonal increase in thefts from autos each year. As the weather gets warmer, more people are out in neighborhoods and recreational areas on foot, and more cars are parked outside for longer periods of daylight. Information on increases in certain types of criminal activity and where it’s happening is provided to patrol officers working the city’s four patrol districts and 35 neighborhoods. Our outstanding team of officers and investigators uses this information to direct patrols and focus investigative follow-up.

Follow these easy steps to reduce the chance you’ll be a victim of theft when parked on the streets and in parking lots.

Use your vehicle’s security features.

  • Lock your doors and close windows when parking, even in your own driveway or garage.
  • Take your car keys with you every time. Never leave them in the car, even in your own garage.
  • Don’t leave your car running and unattended with the keys in the ignition. This step alone would prevent the majority of auto thefts in St. Louis Park.
  • If your car is equipped with an alarm system, activate it, even when parked for short periods.

Always take your valuables with you.

  • Phones and small electronic devices should never be left in your vehicle.
  • Take purses, wallets, briefcases, backpacks and gym bags with you. These items are frequent targets for thieves. Loss of their contents can lead to identity theft problems.
  • Any amount of money in view can be a target of theft. We encounter numerous theft reports where the only thing taken is a handful of change.

Take a few moments to think about where you’re parking.

  • Park in well-lit, crowded sections of lots. Look for areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic.
  • If your home has a detached garage, always close overhead doors and securely lock access doors.
  • Watch out for suspicious activity and report it to police. Thieves often sit in their vehicles and watch for people placing computer bags and purses in trunks after they park. If you see people around a parking lot without an obvious reason for being there, that might be an area to avoid.
  • If you must secure an item in your trunk, do it before arriving at your destination.

There are no guarantees theft can always be prevented, but taking action both before and when you leave your car can help a lot.

If you have questions about crime and safety in the community, contact the St. Louis Park Police Department at 952.924.2600. We are committed to working toward safety in our community through quality service, community partnerships and professionalism. Working together, we can prevent theft from parked cars in St. Louis Park.

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