OCPD Issues Tips To Prevent Car Break-Ins

OCEAN CITY—With vehicle break-ins on the rise, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) this week issued tips on how to keep vehicles and valuables safe.

There has been an increase in vehicle break-ins locally recently, causing the OCPD to reach out to residents and visitors with advice on how to avoid becoming a victim. Deputy Communications Director Ashley Miller said there have been a handful of vehicle break-ins reported in the downtown area recently, causing the department to issue safety tips this week to remind residents and visitors on ways to protect their vehicles and valuables.

Most of the tips are common sense, but some of them are things most motorists might not consider. For example, always lock vehicle doors, even if the plan is only to be gone for a couple of seconds, according to Miller.

“Remember, it only takes seconds to steal items from your car,” she said. “It’s not uncommon for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles looking for unlocked doors. Also, make sure car windows aren’t left open.”

The OCPD advised to not leave valuables in a vehicle. Often, individuals leave valuable items in plain sight in their vehicle, which greatly increases the chances the vehicle will get broken into. Miller also advised to place items out of sight before reaching a destination.

“Someone may be watching when you put your valuables under a seat or in the trunk, and the moment you’re gone, a thief could break into your car,” she said. “Place those items in a safe place before you head to the park, the beach or a baseball game, etc. Valuable items that thieves target are GPS units, credit cards, money, packages and so forth. If you can’t take the items with you, secure them in a safe place in your vehicle, like a locked glove compartment or your trunk.”

Avoid leaving packages or shopping bags out in the open. Lock them in the trunk if the vehicle is going to be left unattended. Again, motorists are advised to park in busy, well-lit areas and pick a parking spot where there is a lot of activity.

Alarms and anti-theft devices work, and thieves are always looking for the easiest target. However, simply having an alarm will not always prevent thieves from breaking in if valuables are left in plain sight.

“If your vehicle is stolen, or property is taken from the vehicle, there are several things you can and should do,” said Miller. “Call the OCPD immediately. Provide a complete description of the items that were stolen. Also, provide your license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, year and color, plus the VIN and insurance company.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.