Items most commonly stolen from vehicles, and those that should always be removed when a vehicle is unoccupied, include purses, laptops, money, iPods, briefcases, gym bags, jewelry, dash-mounted GPS units, cell phones, keys, mail, garage door openers, tools, stereos and compact discs.
Citizens can help minimize opportunities for vehicle burglars to strike, Dreelan points out, by following a few simple recommendations:
• Always lock the doors and close the windows of vehicles, even when you are away from the vehicle for only a short period of time, and always make sure keys are not left in the vehicle.
• Install a car alarm and use of secondary locking devices to prevent vehicle theft.
• Take wallets or purses with you and never leave them in the vehicle.
• Remove compact disc player covers or stereo mounts, and dash-mounted GPS units such as the Garmin and TomTom units, and place them in the locked trunk when the vehicle is unattended.
• Remove all valuables and personal papers that absolutely do not need to be in the vehicle, and when shopping keep all packages and valuables locked in the trunk out of sight.
• Park vehicles in an attended parking lot when possible. Make sure vehicles are parked in garages or on driveways or near apartments so the vehicle can be periodically viewed, and park in well-lit areas at night to take advantage of exterior lighting and motion-detecting lights.
• Make sure that vehicle keys do not have tags with personal identification, such as name and address on them that can be useful to burglars if keys are lost or stolen.
If a person finds themselves a victim of stolen items, police advise the importance of having documentation with the serial numbers, model numbers, photos of the items, and knowing the actual value of the property.