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Car break-ins have risen to 136 during the first eight weeks of school, and the Boulder Police Department is asking for citizens’ help in keeping these thieves from committing their sneaky crimes.
Safety tips for your vehicle: Reduce the risk of being a target
- Always lock your car and close all of the windows.
- Never leave valuable items, including CDs, in plain view. Lock them in the trunk.
- Park in well-lit areas or in a garage, if possible.
- Never leave your keys in the car or your vehicle running unattended.
- Purchase removable stereos or stereos with faceplates, and take them with you when you leave the car.
- Keep a description of all your valuables so it will help police get them back to you if there is a recovery. Ideally, take all items with you when you leave.
- Call the police right away to report the break-in (303-441-3333), and don’t touch the interior or exterior of the car.
Courtesy of the Boulder Police Department
The thieves find better opportunities for theft as the holidays approach and nights get longer.
“There is no one common neighborhood they target, but we do see a rash of break-ins in the evenings and during holiday seasons because of the easy opportunities,” siad Julie Brooks, the police public information officer.
When the criminals set out at night, their main target is unlocked cars in crowded areas.
“We get a lot of calls from people whose cars were broken into along the street,” Brooks said. “It is easy for someone to walk along the street and check unlocked car handles without being noticed. Areas off highways are common also because of the easy getaway chances.”
Valuables and expensive stereo equipment are stolen most often from the vehicles, especially if they are in plain sight from the window.
“Keep things out of sight,” Brooks said. “It is important not to keep all the CDs you own in your car. This is a crime of opportunity, and we ask people not to tempt someone to steal.”
Although it is difficult to catch someone in the act and have them arrested, the police do not want this to discourage people from calling in a theft.
“We have caught people, so it is important to call in suspicious activity and all break-ins,” Brooks said. “If no one calls in the theft, we won’t know where we need to look. By reporting it, there is a increase in the possibility of us catching someone.”
Not tampering with a crime scene is vital for the investigation of the break-in.
“We ask that if you realize your car has been broken into and things were stolen to not touch anything,” Brooks said. “If someone was arrested previously and they are out doing it again, we can process the fingerprints. But if you drive in your vehicle for days and have friends in and out, we can no longer get the fingerprints.”
One student’s experience of his car break-in hit particularly close when exams were just around the corner.
“I went out the night previously and left my car doors unlocked. When I got up in the morning, I realized there was stuff spread out in my car, and my stereo was gone,” said Ryan Carpenter, a history graduate student. “It was a week before exams, and I didn’t realize until the next day that after they had taken my stereo, they stuck it in my backpack with all my notes and books in it. It was pretty devastating. I didn’t really care about my stereo being stolen as much as my notes.”
Another student discussed the nightmare of getting her windshield busted out.
“I was out of town for the weekend, and when I came home my windshield was smashed in with a rock,” said Gina Montoya, a senior journalism and political science major. “I was really frustrated because I had to pay to replace my window, and I couldn’t drive for a long time. Even though nothing was stolen, it was still upsetting.”
To report a break-in, call the Boulder police at 303-441-3333, and remember not to drive or touch your car. If you notice suspicious activity, the police urge people to call 911.