Over the past two years, the Whitemarsh Township Police Department has noted a measurable increase in theft reports where vehicles and residences are being left unlocked prior to the crime occurring.
Over 95% of the reported thefts from vehicle that are occurring in Whitemarsh Township have occurred from unlocked vehicles. This number includes theft of vehicles that were left unlocked and the keys to the vehicle were left in the unlocked vehicle. The most common theft from vehicle involves the theft of small items (sunglasses, CDs, etc.) and change from vehicles that have been left unlocked. Normally, the thief walks through a neighborhood trying the car doors, by-passing those that are locked and stealing from those that are found unlocked. Naturally, the thief will take anything that they find of value and this normally occurs overnight, while residents are home sleeping.
There are still a few occurrences of vehicles being broken into. In most of these cases the vehicle owner reports that they have left a purse, a computer or something else of value in plain sight inside the vehicle. In these cases, the thief is willing to risk breaking the window or defeating the lock to enter the vehicle. In these cases we are asking residents to be conscious of what valuables they leave visible in their vehicles. Concealing valuables inside your vehicle will reduce the chances of your vehicle being broken into.
Finally, many of our home burglaries are committed by criminals that do physically break into a residence. However, there have been almost as many burglaries that are committed by the criminal utilizing an unlocked door or window to enter a residence. Many years ago very few of our residential doors were locked in our community. Unfortunately, times have changed and the need to lock doors and windows is required.
So, please make a conscious effort to lock your cars and your homes. Taking away the criminal’s opportunity to commit the crime will go a long way in preventing our residents from becoming crime victims.