Break-ins of vehicles on the increase

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003

It is a common entry on any police blotter in the Tri-State: car break-ins.

Local authorities in Lawrence County and in surrounding areas of Kentucky said they are experiencing a problem with such crimes. They said vigilance is the key to protecting your belongings from a thief.

"This has been going on for some time and it seems to be getting worse," Ironton Police detective Jim Akers said. " We've had cars broken into and there was nothing to take except a gym bag full of school books. They're looking for anything they can find: purses, cell phones, check books."

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"These car break-ins are occurring at night and in broad daylight. No location has been ignored as some of the break-ins have occurred in driveways, and the parking lots of restaurants, shopping malls and churches," Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said.

Akers warned against leaving any valuables in your car, as the sight of a handbag or cell phone is almost an open invitation for a thief to smash the window and grab the property. Akers said some people prefer to leave valuables in the trunk of their car,

but even that has its risks.

"We've had people put stuff in the trunk and then come back and find it pried open," Akers said. "So even that is not a guarantee."

Sexton offered some advice to people to reduce their risk of becoming a car break-in victim:

4Always lock your car and if you have a car alarm, activate it. This is important, whether you will be gone a few moments or a few hours.

4Avoid parking beside taller vehicles such as custom vans. Taller vehicles provide a view obstruction for the thief.

4Never leave valuables in the car, even if your car is parked in your driveway at home.

4Look for individuals walking through and lurking in parking lots and neighborhoods. Report any suspicious activity to police.

4When you park in public, be aware of your surroundings.

4If you observe criminal activity, immediately call police, and provide an accurate description of any vehicle involved, the license plate number and the last known direction of travel. "We got lucky recently," Akers said. "A concerned citizen called us and provided information that led to an arrest," Akers said. "Since then, things have slowed down a bit."

4Park in well-lit areas.

4Install motion sensors or other lighting at your house.

4Think crime prevention.