West Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Terri Johnston sent out a letter to neighbors in Magnolia and Queen Anne last week, warning them about a spike in car thefts and other auto-related crimes in the neighborhood, and offering up a few tips to protect yourself from car thieves:
[U]pon reviewing the reported crime for Queen Anne and Magnolia, I noticed that in the past 7 days there were three vehicles stolen from Magnolia (Volvo SW; Toyota Highlander and an Acura Integra) and 4 vehicles stolen from Queen Anne (2 Subaru Legacys; KIA Rio; and a BMW). This is in addition to a theft of a license plate on Queen Anne, and several car prowls.
I found that number of incidents to be abnormally high. I phoned the Auto Theft Sergeant and he said the number of Auto Thefts in Seattle are down, and have been decreasing steadily. In fact, we are at nearly 1/3 of the number of Auto Thefts which occurred in 2005. However, we agreed that there are some simple things we can do to try and prevent becoming a victim of auto theft.
This sergeant reports that he uses a steering wheel locking device on every car he owns, and he uses the device, every time he parks his car. These devices act as a good visual deterrent. They are just one more thing the thief has to disable in an attempt to steal the vehicle. There are also a variety of locking metal devices that can disable everything from your gearshift, gas pedal, brake pedal, hood, tires, etc.
If you have a garage, use it. Park your car in there! Keep the garage and any other doors leading into the garage locked, and keep car doors locked inside the garage.
Since more than 2/3 of all auto thefts occur at night, consider installing motion-sensitive lighting around car ports, driveways, parking spots on alleyways. We still recommend leaving your front porch lights on from dusk until dawn.
Cars are often stolen for their parts. (including airbags) It can take an expert thief as little as seven seconds and one screwdriver to break into a vehicle, and less than one minute to drive away. Please be vigilant for strangers on your block, trying door handles, looking into vehicles. You can call 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity.
Thanks for sharing this information with your neighbors. tj
Seattle Police Crime Prevention
The more you know!