Lock It, Hide It, Keep It

Vehicle Burglary is Most Often a Crime of Opportunity

Carelessness is often the cause of vehicle break-ins; however, you can minimize your chance of being a victim by eliminating or hardening the target or location.

Crime Triangle

The crime triangle represents the factors that enable crime to occur. If one of the triangle's sides is broken by your action, or the police, the crime cannot occur. In most cases, if people remove visible valuables from their vehicles, lock their vehicles, and park in a secure and well-lit area, then crime will be prevented.

What is a Vehicle Burglary?

Vehicle Burglary is the theft of property (any value) from a locked vehicle. This is a felony. Theft of property from an unlocked vehicle, however, is generally a misdemeanor, unless the value of the stolen property is equal to or greater than $950.

What Items are Most Commonly Stolen?

  • Briefcases and computers
  • Cash, jewelry, mail and keys
  • Garage door openers
  • Cell phones and chargers
  • CDs and CD cases
  • Purses, wallets, and day planners (even if under seat)
  • Stereos and faceplates
  • Gym bags
  • Tools

What Steps Can I Take to Prevent Being a Victim?

Remember, an unlocked car is an open invitation to a car thief.

  • Lock up, whenever you leave your car, and take the keys with
  • you.
  • Lock the trunk and/or tailgate
  • Close all windows - professional thieves have tools that help
  • unlock cars through a minimum of open space.
  • Be sure vent or wind-wing windows and sunroofs are shut tight
  • and locked. These are a favorite means of entry for car thieves.
  • Lock your car even if you are making a quick stop at the gas
  • station, convenience store, or mini mall.
  • Buy an alarm and use it. If thieves have two cars to choose
  • from - one with an alarm and one without - they will burglarize
  • the one without.

Can Auto Burglary Lead to Residential Burglary?

Garage door openers, house keys or vehicle registrations left in your car can lead to identity theft and residential burglary.

Vehicle Registration

Black out the address on the registration and photocopy it. Keep the copy, not the original, in your car.


Do not Leave outgoing or incoming mail in your car, especially where visible. This has your name and address on it. Thieves target mail for identity theft and checks.

Garage Door Opener

Take it with you or, if that isn't possible, conceal it in your vehicle.


Hold the Key!

You can help eliminate crime by remembering these important safety tips:


  • Always lock your car!
  • Close all windows.
  • Remove visible items from your vehicle.
  • Lock items in the trunk.
  • Park in well-lit areas.


  • Leave items in plain view.
  • Leave your remote garage door opener in the vehicle.
  • Leave the engine running when you are away from the vehicle.
  • Keep original ownership papers in your vehicle.
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