FAIRFIELD — Chief Robert Kalamaras and the Fairfield Police Department would like to advise residents to properly secure their vehicles to prevent break-ins and avoid being easy targets for thieves this season.
The summer season is most popular for vehicle thefts and break-ins, and July is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. According to the NHTSA, there were 721,885 motor vehicles stolen in the U.S. in 2019, one every 43.8 seconds. Only 56.1% of all stolen vehicles were recovered.
Additionally, the NHTSA warns that vehicle parts and valuable items left in vehicles are also targets for thieves. Parts that may be targeted include radios, wheel covers, doors, engines, transmissions, air bags and radios, as well as items such as GPS units, cellphones, iPads, laptops and purses.
“As a rule of thumb, residents should lock their car doors every time they exit their vehicle,” Chief Kalamaras said. “Residents are also advised to take all valuables with them when they leave their vehicle, as a would-be criminal may still attempt to break in despite doors being locked if a valuable item is left in view.”
The NHTSA and Fairfield Police remind vehicle owners to use common sense when parking and exiting your vehicle:
- Take your keys. Don’t leave them in your vehicle.
- Close all windows and lock all doors.
- Never leave your vehicle while it is running.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle. Anything stored inside your vehicle should be out of sight or in the trunk.
- Never leave credit cards/debit cards, cash or your wallet or purse inside of your vehicle overnight.
- Park in well-lit areas or preferably inside a garage, if possible. Park in visible areas where your vehicle is not hidden by foliage or larger vehicles. Install lights with motion sensors near where you park your vehicle.
- Get in the routine of double-checking that your vehicle is locked and secure each night around 9 p.m. This is known as the 9 p.m. Routine.
If your vehicle has been stolen or broken into, follow these steps:
- Call the police to report a theft or break-in. A copy of the police report and/or a case number will be needed to provide to your insurance company.
- You may be asked to provide the license plate number, make, model and color of the car, the VIN number and any identifying characteristics.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen or broken into.
- If you find your vehicle before authorities, contact the police immediately and then your insurance company.