Weekly Feature

2017-02-15 / Editorial

Prevent thefts from occurring — use door locks

Bee Editorial

Recently, Bee reporters have noticed that one of the most common reports answered by the Amherst Police Department is residential complaints regarding items stolen from unlocked vehicles.

This is a topic The Bee has written about in previous news pieces throughout the past several years. Yet, these preventable crimes still occur.

We’ve noticed from the reports that the crooks aren’t prying any doors open, making false keys or smashing windows to gain entry.

They don’t have to be smart or even sneaky. These thieves only have to open an unlocked door and then maybe look under a seat or in the console to find any items of value.

Damage to the car is almost never listed in these reports, as the thief or thieves had no barriers preventing their going through someone’s belongings. Just because a car is sitting in the driveway doesn’t make it less vulnerable to break-ins.

A car alarm can be activated only if the car is locked. Leaving it unlocked is an open invitation for anyone to come and take what is inside, or even the vehicle itself.

As noted in the police reports, the thieves frequently take any loose change, and if there are dollar bills that can be seen, they’ll take those, too.

People often accidentally leave expensive items in their vehicles overnight only to find that they are missing the next morning.

We think that a reason for people not locking the doors of their vehicles may be that sometimes residents are lulled into a false sense of security: They live in a “safe” neighborhood, so they don’t have to worry about locking car doors. But crooks sometimes prey on those neighborhoods considered the “safest.”

We doubt anyone who has had something stolen from a vehicle would leave it unlocked ever again. But don’t wait until that happens.

Most people have told officers that the doors of their vehicles were left unlocked at the times of the incidents. We urge everyone in the community to make sure their vehicle doors — and the front doors of their homes — are locked.

Even if it is late at night and you can’t remember locking the doors, check it just in case. You might just prevent a crime from occurring.

For this issue, it’s just common sense: Lock your vehicle’s doors when it is not in use.

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