OCEAN CITY — With the fall season underway, law enforcement officials across the region have seen a rise in vehicle break-ins, largely due to the rise in opiate use.
Heroin and opiate addiction continues to be at an all-time high across the country and unfortunately many addicts turn to a life of crime, victimizing others to feed their addiction. Most thefts from vehicles are “crimes of opportunity” that can be stopped by using simple preventative measures.
The Ocean City Police Department is recommending citizens take the following steps to prevent themselves from becoming a victim:
•Always lock your vehicle doors. This is true even if you plan on being gone for “just a second” or you are only steps away from your vehicle inside your home. Thieves will often walk down a row of parked cars looking for unlocked doors.
•Never leave your windows down while you are away from the vehicle.
•Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. If items are left in your vehicle and are visible, the chances of a vehicle break-in increases dramatically.
•Place items out of sight before reaching your destination. Criminals may be watching while you hide valuables under a seat or move items to the trunk.
•Avoid leaving packages or shopping bags in plain view.
•Leave no trace of valuables in plain view. For example, remove items like suction cups used to hold GPS systems or phone chargers.
•Ensure that alarms and anti-theft devices are working. These will act as deterrents and could decrease your chances of becoming a victim.
•Never leave spare keys in your vehicle. Even if well hidden, an experienced criminal knows the best hiding places.
•Do not leave your driver’s license or title in the vehicle.
•Keep a record of the VIN number, license plate number, and insurance information in your wallet or purse.
Citizens that have become the victim of a vehicle break-in should call local police immediately. Citizens will be asked to provide a complete description of the items that were stolen and should know their vehicles license plate number, a detailed description of the vehicle, the VIN number and insurance information.