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To Stop Car Thefts, Police 'Deputize' City's Entire Population

Police
Police Photo Credit: Enfield Police Department

A city Police Department has promoted every city resident in an effort to fight back against a rash of motor vehicle break-ins and thefts.

On Sunday, Nov. 15, Enfield Police notified all of Enfield's 44,500 residents that they have been deputized as honorary Enfield Police Crime Prevention Aides. Residents can pick up an official-looking police badge sticker at the department headquarters. The EPD isn’t providing uniforms.

“If your house sergeant is willing to buy you a sweet police outfit then good for you, but short of coming to the station for an EPD sticker badge, you’re out of luck,” police said in a post to Facebook.

The tongue-in-cheek citizen promotions are Enfield’s way of drawing attention to a growing problem not just in Enfield, but across Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other areas along the East Coast. A sharp rise in motor vehicle break-ins and thefts have kept officers busy all summer and fall. Everywhere seems to be affected - big cities, small rural communities, suburban towns.

Many police departments are trying to get people to take preventive measures to protect their property - most of the thefts are from unlocked vehicles or vehicles with the keys or key fobs inside the car. Forced entry is rare in this wave of thefts, police said.

To help prevent motor vehicle break-ins and thefts, police are asking people to:

- Lock vehicle doors when the car is parked - even in your own driveway

- Do not leave keys or fobs inside the vehicle

- Do not leave valuable items inside the vehicle.

If an EPD Crime Prevention Aide sees an unlocked vehicle in his driveway, it should be reported immediately to the “designated house sergeant …. (probably best if it’s mom),” the police said.

“But seriously people,” the police social media post went on to say, “please lock your vehicle doors and don’t leave your keys/fob in your vehicles.”

As the thefts mount, data on how many vehicles have been stolen or burglarized this summer compared to previous years isn't readily available, but many police departments have remarked on the increase in this opportunistic crime.

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