NYPD crime prevention officers are again urging motorists to remove all valuables before they park their vehicles and walk away.
Police at Queens precincts have issued several urgent pleas to motorists who insist on leaving electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones, other gadgets and wallets in clear view inside parked vehicles.
“We cannot leave our electronics, we cannot leave our wallets and other valuables unattended in our cars – particularly when they are unlocked,” police said. “Doing so makes it too easy for thieves to enter vehicles, snatch valuables and run off before anyone realizes what they have done.”
Police are also reminding motorists to be especially careful during the current holiday season, when crooks prey on people who leave shopping bags, unwrapped purchases and valuables in clear sight in their vehicles. “January 1st doesn’t signal the end of the holiday shopping season,” police said. “People are out looking for bargains, making exchanges and using gift cards for weeks after Santa has tied-up his sleigh.”
NYPD officials told the Queens Gazette that neighborhood shopping strips and strip malls throughout the borough continue to be plagued by auto-related grand larcenies for weeks following the traditional end of the holiday season despite increased enforcement, public warnings and outreach. Cops recalled the case of a suspect who was arrested several years ago for auto-related thefts in a Queens precinct. The suspect was an older, career criminal with a history of 40 arrests – most involving vehicles that were filled with holiday purchases left in unlocked cars. “This man, believe it or not, just drives around on a bicycle and breaks into cars,” police said.
“People must understand they cannot leave their cars unlocked anymore than they can leave home without locking their front door and windows,” police said. “You must lock your vehicle before walking away. Some people think it’s safe to park unlocked cars in their private driveways with phones, laptops, wallets – and even purses stashed on the floor,” police officials said. “Thieves aren’t shy about swiping valuables from unlocked cars, no matter where they are parked.”
Police are urging the public to take advantage of a wide range of crime prevention programs offered free of charge by the NYPD by calling the Crime Prevention or Community Affairs officer at their local precinct.