TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Officials with the Tallahassee Police Department are offering tips for local residents to help prevent a crime called Tallahassee's "million-dollar problem—" auto burglaries.
Auto burglaries are also called a "crime of opportunity," according to Tallahassee police, because the victim provides the burglar with the prospect by leaving their window unlocked or their door open. In fact, police say that most property stolen is left in plain view, where anyone walking by the car can see it.
Police say thieves target any items of value, but cases show they prefer cash, loose change, CDs, wallets, purses, cell phones, radar detectors, radios, speakers, and cassette tapes. Most burglaries occur at night, but many thieves target vehicles parked in parking lots while their owners are at work, in class, or shopping. They know it’s going to be a long time before the owner returns to their car and the likelihood of being caught is low.
Police offer the following tops to keep residents' cars from becoming targets for burglars:
- Park your car in a garage or parking lot that is supervised by an attendant.
- Park your car in well-lit areas away from places of concealment, such as alleys and behind bushes.
- Close your windows and lock your doors.
- Never hide a key in one of those magnetic key boxes, because if you can find it, so can a burglar.
- Take your valuables with you when you leave your car or lock them in the trunk out of sight.
If you become the victim of a car burglary, police urge you to take the following steps:
- Report anyone that is seen trying door handles, looking in cars or loitering in the parking lot.
- If the burglary is in progress Call 911. The call taker will ask you who you are and where you are calling from. Then they will ask you to describe the suspect (race, sex, height, weight and clothing description).
- If the burglary has already occurred Call TPD’s non-emergency number at 850-891-4200. Do not get inside of the car to see what’s missing because you may be destroying evidence needed to catch the burglar.