On October 28-29, the Lynnwood Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit along with the Volunteers in Public Safety (VIPS) surveyed the parking lots of Edmonds Community College for vehicles that could be easy targets for car prowlers. The purpose was to educate the public on how it could protect itself from becoming car prowl victims.
Car prowl thieves look for anything of value that they can sell or use for other crimes such as ID Theft. That can include loose change, purses, wallets, back packs, briefcases, mail, legal documents, laptops, cellphones, CD’s, sunglasses, any retail purchases, clothing, sporting gear, medicine, GPS, tools and garage door openers.
Of 270 cars surveyed, the survey team found that half would be “easy targets.” The rule of thumb to having a safe car from car prowlers is to have nothing visible from the outside. Things that the team found that would make a car an easy target included charger cords (suggesting that there was a cell phone or Ipod in the car), purses, skateboards, open windows, unlocked cars, GPS units, Ipods, cellphones, expensive looking boots and clothing, personal ID and food (car prowlers get hungry too).
The survey team left educational flyers with each vehicle that was considered to be easy targets.
The Lynnwood PD Crime Prevention Unit recommends taking the following actions to protect your car and valuables from car prowlers:
- Shut and lock all doors, windows and sun roofs.
- Consider installing a car alarm or vehicle tracking system. This helps discourage car prowlers and car thieves.
- Consider using a steering wheel locking device.
- Use a locking fuel cap.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
- Take your keys with you. Do not leave them in your vehicle.
- Never leave a vehicle running unattended. Winter is the time of year when some people warm up their cars while they get ready to leave home for work. Also, sometimes people will leave the car running while they make a “quick” run into a convenience store. Both are good situations for thieves to steal your car.
- Do not leave items with personal information in your car.
- Park in well-lit, visible areas.