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Clean sweep weekend: clean out the car!

What?  What does cleaning out my car have to do with crime prevention?  I’ll tell you — the less you leave behind in your vehicle, the lower your risk is as an auto-burglar’s target.  Leave nothing of value or visible inside your vehicle when you park and walk away.  Make a commitment this weekend to clean sweep your vehicle(s) — I’d love to hear back on this web site how that went for you, what you discovered or possible even found that you thought was lost!

Here’s the thing: the more you leave behind, the bigger temptation you leave for an auto burglar.  The things that deserve your special focus are:  documents with personal information about you, where you live, your name, any receipts, checks/checkbooks, credit cards, wallets, purses, keys to the house and other vehicles, garage door openers, cash, work access badges/ID badges/parking passes, military gear, firearms, ammo, knives and other weapons, tools (big ticket items for an auto burglar), sports gear, back packs, text books — the list goes on and on.

If you are a regular reader on this site, you know I list items that were stolen from vehicles.  I do this to try to help you realize what is being stolen, why (to commit further criminal acts) and to help you see things just a bit differently to reduce your odds of being a crime victim.

Tip:  you have to have your vehicle registration and insurance papers in the vehicle when driving, but not when it’s parked outside overnight or somewhere else for hours on end.  Take these with you.  These documents are quite often the only things stolen from vehicles and they can be used for further crimes.  It is tax time, and sadly, I am seeing multiple reports of people’s tax papers and other tax-related documents left behind in vehicles that have been stolen during an auto burglary.

I would love to hear back from readers next week how your ‘clean-sweep’ project went, if you realized just how much personal information was left behind when you park or other goodies that may have tempted an auto burglar that you since removed.

Have a safe weekend —

Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS, APD – Foothills Area Command