Sunday 20th September 2020

The Boonville Police Department has taken numerous reports of items being stolen from vehicles.

According to the department, incidents have occurred in all areas of the town. Most of the vehicles have been unlocked.

The department says there are three categories of property commonly stolen from vehicles:
–Category 1 property–
This is property stolen from within the vehicle that should not have been left there and includes: Mobile phones; Laptops; Handbags; Wallets (with their contents); coins used for parking meters; vehicle documents, such as registration documents and anything else of value left in view.
–Category 2 property–
This is property that is stolen from within the vehicle that needs to be there and includes: sound systems (the installed parts, not the removable facia if it has one).
–Category 3 property–
This is property that is stolen off the vehicle and includes: wheels; spare wheels (especially those carried in insecure cradles beneath the car); top boxes; license plates and catalytic converters (particularly from vehicles with high ground clearance, such as 4X4s).

Authorities ask: How do we reduce theft?
Theft of property from vehicles can only occur if:
• There is a motivated thief present at the scene;
• There is property, as described, either in or on the vehicle;
• There is an opportunity to commit the theft .

They say chances of becoming a victim is lessened if residents minimize the availability of property worth stealing, or do something to make it less attractive to the thief or more difficult to take; and do something about reducing the opportunity to commit the theft.

Authorities offer advice about what residents can do about the various types of property:
There are a few points for you to consider:
• If you have to keep coins in your car for the parking meters, keep them in a closed ashtray (if you have one) or in some other out-of-sight compartment (most cars have a little drawer somewhere). If it is in view, a desperate thief will smash a side window.
• A portable Sat-Nav should be carried on the person or left in a locked trunk together with its cradle or mat when leaving the car. Any suction cup marks on the windshield should be wiped away as their presence will indicate to the thief that you may have a device such as a SAT-NAV hidden in the glove compartment. You may not have, but this won’t stop the thief from smashing a side window to take a look. You can purchase Sat-Nav mats, which have weighted bases to stop the whole thing sliding around with a smooth top on which you can stick the Sat-Nav. This means that you won’t be leaving suction cup marks on the windscreen. The same mat can be used with a cradle to hold your mobile phone, too.
• Registration documents should be kept at home.
• Keep the inside of the vehicle tidy, as an untidy vehicle containing opened mail, plastic bags, etc., may attract the curiosity of a thief.
• Remove the facia of your sound system if it has one and use the PIN security facility.

Category 1 property in occupied vehicles:
Drivers and passengers do have property stolen from them through snatch thefts and sometimes robbery when they are sitting in the vehicle. So authorities say:
• When you are in the vehicle, try to store Category 1 property in the trunk, including the handbag. If this is just too much to bear, then at least place the handbag into the well in front of the passenger seat so that it is less in view. If possible, place it under a seat or in the glove compartment or beneath the legs of a passenger. Never leave it on the passenger seats.

Category 2 property:
Solutions are available to reduce these thefts or at least reduce the payoff for the thief.
• Sound systems and other in-car entertainment systems should be marked using a proprietary marking and registration system as described in Property Identification – marking, tagging and tracking standards for property marking products and services. Also keep a record of the make, model and serial numbers and other distinguishing marks. Use the warning labels supplied with the marking kit to warn thieves that the removable property in your car is marked and traceable. You can also use the same marking kit to mark other items of property you use in the car, such as the SAT-NAV and mobile phone.

Category 3 property:
Solutions are available to reduce these thefts or at least reduce the payoff for the thief • Wheels can be protected by using locking wheel nuts. Most modern cars are supplied with them.
• Spare wheels (proper ones, not those temporary 50mph ones) that are carried outside of the car in a cradle can and do get stolen. Locks are available to secure cradle-carried wheels, but they must be fitted by a competent person. Ask your local garage or car dealer about having one fitted.
• License plates. If they are stolen from your vehicle, report the theft to the police immediately.

• Catalytic converters contain platinum, rhodium and palladium, which are elements of high cost and in high demand. If your engine vehicle has a high ground clearance, consider having the converter chemically engraved with a proprietary marking and registration system as described in property identification – marking, tagging and tracking. Standards for property-marking products and services.

Authorities also offer hints to reduce the opportunity to steal things.
• Always close the windows and sunroof; lock the doors and set the alarm before leaving the vehicle, even for a minute, such as when paying for gas at a service station.
• If your vehicle does not have an alarm, then have one fitted.
• Lock the doors and boot before you drive away to reduce the chances of snatch-theft and robbery when stopped (especially at traffic lights) or in slow-moving traffic. Modern vehicles have auto-locking doors and you can sometimes hear the locks ‘click’ in place when you get to 3 to 5 mph.
• When parking at home, use the garage if you have one or park on a well-lit driveway or hard standing rather than in the street.
• When parking away from home, try to park in a place that is well lit and overlooked. When using a public car park try to use one that is supervised.