Department of Public Safety
PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has started a social media campaign to encourage habits that can help reduce theft from vehicles. It is called the Park, Clear & Lock It Challenge. It urges car owners to undertake common sense preventative measures every time they park their vehicle – clear valuables from sight, lock your doors, and close your windows.
The challenge began on June 22, 2017 on Facebook and Twitter. The first post read:
“Theft from vehicles is a crime of opportunity that occurs in every neighborhood,” says Police Chief Scott Schubert. “Our hope with the social media challenge is to get people talking about crime prevention and taking action to help reduce theft from vehicles. It might seem like common sense, but you would be surprised to learn that many thefts from vehicles are from unlocked cars.”
A related issue is that some people do not report car break ins or attempted car break ins. Zone 5 Commander Jason Lando said a resident recently expressed frustration to him with ongoing thefts from vehicles in his neighborhood; however, there had been few reported.
“It is vital that residents alert police that these crimes are happening so that detectives can conduct a thorough investigation and gather enough evidence to obtain arrest warrants for the criminals who are committing these bothersome crimes,” says Cmdr. Lando.
It takes less than a minute for a thief to break into your car and snatch your valuables. Purses, electronics, and spare change are attractive to thieves. Here are some preventative steps that every car owner can take to lessen the chance that their car will be targeted:
Lock doors and roll up windows
Keep windows and sunroofs closed and doors locked. Nationally, one-fourth of thefts from vehicles are from unlocked cars. Even if you’re running into a store to make a quick purchase, that is more than enough time for someone to grab your valuables.
Clear your valuables
Many smash-and-grab thieves act on impulse, so keep your stuff out of sight – either with you or in a locked trunk. Don’t count on the glove box; thieves know to look there. Even an empty shopping bag or a pair of shoes could be tempting.
Protect your cargo area
If you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area open, get a retractable fitted cover to keep shopping bags or other belongings hidden.
Stow your stuff before arrival
Experienced thieves often stake out parking lots to watch for people putting items in their trunk. Help prevent car break-ins by putting valuables like bags and electronic devices into your trunk before you get to the parking lot.
Stash the evidence, too
After you’ve put your stuff in the trunk, don’t forget such telltale evidence as power plugs, MP3 adapters, and navigation system windshield suction-cup mounts. Thieves know what they’re looking for, so hide the electronic accessories.
Layer your defense
That’s the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s recommended strategy. Warning devices such as alarms, steering wheel immobilizers, and tracking systems are helpful. None of them are foolproof but, when used in conjunction with the previously mentioned steps, they can greatly reduce the risk.
Monday, July 17, 2017
Sonya M. Toler
Public Information Officer
Public Safety Department
Cell: 412-627-3552

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