Danville Express

Perspective - May 4, 2007

Avoid thefts from cars

What does it take to get people to lock their car doors? That's what police and sheriff's deputies in Danville and Alamo are asking.

Danville police reported a surge of felony thefts from cars during March and April, most of which probably could have been avoided if the owners had locked their vehicles. Sgt. Troy Craig of the Danville Police Department said people leave their doors unlocked due to forgetfulness or exhaustion. It's a scary thought that forgetful and exhausted people are driving on our roads. Obviously they summon up reserves of focus to drive; keep up that concentration for a few more seconds and make sure your vehicle is secured before walking away from it.

When vehicles are locked, it is still important to keep valuables out of sight. Craig noted that some people use their cars as safes, as though their locks would keep out a determined thief. But these "safe crackers" don't need a combination to unlock the treasure - they merely smash a window, grab the goods and run. Police said that 40 percent of the cases include stolen wallets, which is a huge headache for the owners who must report stolen credit cards, get new driver's licenses, etc.

At one of the coffee mornings hosted by Mayor Mike Shimansky at Father Nature's the first Friday of each month, Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel said that Danville has a reputation as an easy target and this information is being passed along at County Jail. So having valuables stolen from cars here has greater implications than just the victim's loss. When someone asked why people leave valuables in cars, the chief was at a loss to answer. All he could suggest was more publicity on the dangers of leaving valuables in cars.

Here is his message: Lock your vehicles and do not leave your valuables inside.

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