Car thieves in Westchester apparently haven’t been adhering to “stay at home” orders during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as reports of stolen cars continue to rise.
According to Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. and the Westchester Intelligence Committee, automobile thefts from January to March this year rose 57.4 percent from the same time last year. In April alone, there were 69 vehicles reported stolen, a 94.3 percent increase from a year ago.
Scarpino noted that a “disproportionate number” of the stolen vehicles involved owners leaving keys or key fobs in parked, unlocked cars. Unlocked vehicles have also been targeted by thieves looking to steal electronics, credit cards, cash, wallets, sunglasses, and loose change that was left behind.
“In most instances, car thieves are not going to break the window if you lock the car,” Scarpino said, calling them crimes of opportunity. “But if you make it easy for them by leaving the doors unlocked and the key fob inside, you are creating an opportunity.”
Scarpino said that to prevent car thieves:
- Do not leave your key or key fob in the car;
- Remove or hide all valuables;
- Close the car windows;
- Lock the car doors;
- Activate your alarm if you have one;
- Park in a well-lit area at night if possible;
- Do not keep garage door openers in the car if it is not parked in a garage;
- Never leave the car running while unattended.
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