The vehicles are parked and unoccupied in mostly residential areas, according to Commissioner Kenneth Jackson, who added that incidents have also been reported in nearby areas throughout the county.
Electronic devices like iPods, iPads, GPS devices and laptop computers, and handbags, have been reported stolen during many of these thefts. In some cases though, the thief was just looking for loose change, police said. There was also an incident where the thief stole a vehicle because the keys were actually left inside it.
Garden City police arrested two individuals on separate occasions for numerous larcenies from vehicles in the village. One arrest, police said, was based on a suspicious person call from an alert resident who happened to be awake during the early morning hours and saw someone walking in a neighboring driveway.
Despite these arrests, police said there are still other persons committing these larcenies.
This month alone, the department has reported more than a dozen incidents on Chester Avenue, Locust Street, Garden Street, Brook Street, Westbury Road, First Street, Damson Street, Grove Street, College Place, Chestnut Street, Willow Street, Meadow Street and Franklin Court, where, in this instance, a witness walking her dog observed a subject in her vehicle. The subject fled the scene on foot.
"Alert residents are often instrumental in the apprehension of criminals, particularly subjects who commit larcenies from vehicles," a department press release said.
Residents should promptly report suspicious activities, persons, noises or vehicles by dialing 911. In addition, police are asking residents and property owners who have video surveillance systems that may contain footage of a crime on their property or a neighbor’s property to contact the Detective Division at 465-4150.
Commissioner Jackson offers the following tips that may prove beneficial in protecting your valuables from being stolen:
- Keep the vehicle locked, secured and the alarm set, if so equipped. Thieves go around checking vehicles to see if they are locked; when they find an unlocked vehicle, they will enter it to see if there is something to steal. This is the preferable way of most thieves because they don’t have to break into a vehicle which lowers their probability of being detected.
- Keep valuables out of sight. Thieves are like shoppers, they look into vehicle after vehicle until they see something they like.
- Keep loose change out of sight. Thieves are just looking for a quick way to get money. Leaving loose change, wallets or handbags in your vehicle easily entices a thief to enter your vehicle.
- At night, park your vehicle in well-lit areas. In addition, driveway lights are useful in deterring residential vehicle theft.
Police issued a similar alert back in July, when the department was investigating the trend with Suffolk police.
Thefts from parked unoccupied vehicles are, more often than not, just crimes of opportunity; when people take precautions to reduce that opportunity they most likely reduce the probability of a theft from their vehicle, police said.