Protect yourself, possessions with common sense

Each day, the Vandalia Police Department issues to the media a list of the calls its officers responded to the previous day.
In the report we received on Monday, it wasn’t hard to pinpoint what the officers were focused on last weekend. Of the 11 items listed for Sunday, seven of them were burglaries to motor vehicles. Most were within eight or 10 blocks of the downtown area.
Obviously, someone got the bright idea that breaking into cars (or finding unlocked ones) was a quick way to score some cash or steal items of value that had been left in the unattended vehicles.
This news should be instructive to those of us living and working in the area. When a rash of burglaries occurs like this, we must take precautions to avoid becoming victims ourselves.
The first message is obvious: Lock your vehicle. Those  who commit crimes like these are looking for an easy mark. They’re not going to make a scene to break into a car if the one next to it is unlocked. They’ll take the easy route every time.
The second message is nearly as obvious: Don’t leave anything of value in plain sight in your vehicle. Put it in the trunk. Lock it in the glovebox. Slide it under the seat. Or, better yet, take it with you.
Though the burglaries here appear to be a series of thefts by the same person or persons, many times such thefts are crimes of opportunity. They see an item they want as they’re walking past a car and don’t have the character or self-control to keep from grabbing it.
And though these two-bit thieves seem to be focusing on thefts from automobiles, it’s also a good idea to keep your house doors locked and the garage door down – especially when thefts are occurring in the area.
It’s precisely for this kind of crime spree that we believe it’s important to print the police reports in The Leader-Union. If people are going to be able to protect themselves, they must know what is going on in their community. And part of that knowledge comes from reading the Public Record report each week in The Leader-Union.
Meantime, keep your eyes peeled for suspicious people hanging around cars. You don’t need to be a hero. Just pull out your cell phone, dial 911 and memorize as much as you can about the suspicious person so you can give a good description to the police when they arrive.
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