Amid a recent rash of vehicle break-ins in the city over the last week or so, there are some common-sense practices residents can take to avoid becoming a statistic.
1) Park in a visible spot. Avoid dimly-lit parking lots, high shrubbery or fences, and low-lying spaces that could be easily overlooked.
2) Never leave anything in your vehicle that may attract burglars. It is especially important to keep any valuables out of sight of passersby. Many “smash and grabs” occur on impulse.
3) If you have valuables such as laptops, expensive gifts, or large items that will be left in your vehicle, place them in the trunk before you leave the house. Moving them from the front or back seat to the trunk in a public area invites curious onlookers to see right where they need to strike first.
4) Be alert. Scan the area where you are parking. If you see suspicious activity, people milling around, or broken glass on the ground, find another location.
5) Make sure all windows and sunroofs are completely up. On a nice day, it can be easy to forget a cracked window. A thief won’t.
6) Car alarms, steering wheel locks, and other anti-theft devices are often quite affordable and an effective deterrent. Burglars often do not want to have to work hard for quick thefts.
Multiple smash and grabs and vehicle thefts have occurred in Alton over the past several days, including multiple incidents in the Alton Square Mall area and Oakwood Estates subdivision over the weekend.