Rapid City, S.D. – The Rapid City Police Department is urging residents and tourists to lock their car doors to prevent vehicle burglaries. Police investigate hundreds of car burglaries each year, and the vast majority occur when vehicles are left unlocked.
In 2010, police investigated 760 vehicle burglaries. So far in 2011, more than 300 car burglaries have been reported. Police believe many more incidents go unreported.
“Most people don’t realize how prevalent this crime is until it happens to them,” said Captain Doug Thrash. “Having to replace your wallet, credit cards, laptop, or mobile phone is a tough way to learn to lock your doors, but unfortunately, people just aren’t being careful.”
Car burglaries are not limited to one area of Rapid City; they happen in all parts of town, both residential and commercial. Last weekend alone, police received 26 reports of car burglaries. The thieves made off with purses, wallets, stereos, tools, iPods, and more.
Vehicle burglaries are also largely preventable. Most incidents occur after dark, when vehicles are left unlocked, parked outside a home or in a parking lot. Unlocked cars are easy targets, and a purse or iPod left in plain view is an open invitation to would-be criminals.
“Car burglaries are time-consuming for police, and very difficult to solve,” Thrash said. “Rapid City is a safe community, but property crimes are far too common. Taking simple steps like locking your car and removing items of value can go a long way to keep you from becoming a victim.”
Tips for preventing vehicle thefts and burglaries:
• Always lock your car doors, even if the car is parked in your driveway, or you’re just running in to the store for a quick trip.
• Don’t leave electronics and other valuables in plain sight. If you must leave them in the car, keep purses, wallets, iPods, etc. in the trunk or other hidden area.
• If you see someone checking car handles, looking in car windows, or other suspicious activity, call the police immediately.