County Police Employ Post Card Initiative for Theft from Vehicle Prevention
Montgomery County Police Employ Post Card
Initiative for Theft from Vehicle Prevention
The Montgomery County Police Department continues to try to educate the public about the importance of not leaving cash, property, and portable Global Positioning System (GPS) units visible inside unattended vehicles. The crime of theft from vehicle has been increasing in Montgomery County. From January through June of 2007 there were 2,887 thefts from vehicles and of vehicle parts. During that same time period in 2008, there were 3,837 thefts from vehicles and of vehicle parts. Of those thefts in 2007, 363 were portable GPS units. In 2008 during the same time period, 1,107 portable GPS units were reported stolen.
In many cases this crime can be prevented by drivers and passengers not leaving items or change visible inside vehicles, storing the GPS unit out of sight and wiping off the ring that the suction holder leaves on the windshield, and by locking vehicle doors.
The Friday after Thanksgiving, commonly known in the retail world as “Black Friday”, is a time when shoppers in record numbers take advantage of sales at area businesses and shopping malls, and the potential of theft from vehicles may increase. Officers and volunteers in all of the Montgomery County Police Districts will be on the lookout for vehicles where items have been visibly left inside. The license number of the vehicle is recorded. After officers determine who the vehicle is registered to, a post card is sent to alert the owner to the risk of becoming a victim of theft from vehicle.
On Friday, November 28, members of the Montgomery County Police Explorer Post 1986 have volunteered to take part in the post card program at Westfield Wheaton shopping center. The registered owners of vehicles with items left in sight will receive a post card providing the date the vehicle was observed, a description of the vehicle, and where it was seen. The items that were visible will be checked from a list of possible items that may be left in a vehicle. The most common items left include: iPods, purses, money, cell phones, brief cases, and portable GPS units. The postcard ends with the following message: “In an effort to reduce the thefts from automobiles, the Montgomery County Police Department is asking that in the future, you please secure your personal property out of sight in the glove compartment, console, or trunk.”
Officers in the 1st and 3rd Districts will periodically be using the post cards throughout the holiday season in shopping areas throughout their districts. The post card program is already being used by 2nd District officers in cooperation with mall security at Westfield Montgomery Mall. The 5th District focuses on the Milestone Shopping Center as well as other retail areas in the district. The 6th District will continue to use the post card program at Lakeforest Mall and other shopping centers in their district.
As we begin the busy holiday gift-buying season, it is particularly important that people who are out shopping, as well as those who live and work in Montgomery County, remember to consistently follow these important safety practices.
Sample Theft Card
Last edited by Howard Hartman; 12-01-2008 at 10:41 PM.
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