Statement as issued Thursday by the city police:
Fort Wayne, Ind – The City of Fort Wayne Police Department is presently investigating numerous incidents of vehicle break-ins; thirty-six incidents were reported this past week alone, and peaked at sixty-seven reports in a one-week period as recent as July 2012.
While some might consider vehicle break-ins to be a “petty crime”, detectives with the Fort Wayne Police Department disagree and say that the loss to victims can be significant, and the crime itself feeds other criminal activity making prevention all the more important.
Significant Loss to Victims
Victims’ losses include purses, wallets, check books, credit cards, cash, cell phones, jewelry, GPS units, laptops, CDs, clothing, other valuable electronic or digital equipment, stereos, and even loose change, medication, and garage door openers.
Vehicle Break-Ins Feed Other Criminal Activity
Many of these items are taken with the intent to be sold or pawned, and in some instances stolen credit or debit cards were used to make large purchases shortly after the break-in was believed to have occurred. Also, if the criminal obtains the victim’s personal documents then the victim is at risk of identity theft.
Additionally, statistics have shown that if a garage door opener is stolen from a vehicle that the criminal will attempt to burglarize the home at a later date.
Police Efforts to Reduce Vehicle Break-Ins
Typically vehicle break-ins occur where there is greater opportunity for reward; that is, where the criminal element can have access to many vehicles as opposed to only a few.
Prime locations or targeted areas for this crime are parking lots (nightclubs, exercise facilities, apartment complexes, hotels, shopping plazas, churches), and residential neighborhoods. These areas are most commonly targeted in the overnight hours.
Patrol officers periodically patrol these areas. In addition to marked patrol units, the Fort Wayne Police Department employs the use of unmarked surveillance vehicles. The Fort Wayne Police Department asks that suspicious person(s) or activity be immediately reported.
Prevention - Minimize Your Risk of Becoming a Victim
- Park your vehicle in well-lit areas;
- Always secure your vehicle’s doors and windows;
- Never leave valuable items in your vehicle; if necessary to leave valuables in your vehicle, then hide them prior to arriving at your destination.
- Always document serial numbers of valuable items.
- Install an alarm on your vehicle;
- Check your vehicle prior to exiting; ensure that you didn’t leave valuables in plain view.