GONE are the days when burglars simply stole belongings out of vehicles and that was the end of it. Now, they have a new target: stealing your identity. These thieves move swiftly, often without being noticed, because it takes only seconds to commit this type of crime.
Unfortunately, the crime doesn’t stop after your belongings are stolen. This can lead to many more offenses. Once a criminal steals your purse, briefcase or laptop – all of which usually contain your personal information – the door is open to swiping your identity.
Cleaning up your name and credit score after becoming an identity theft victim often takes months or even years. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, victims spend an average of 30 hours repairing their credit and name after an identity theft crime.
It’s important to keep in mind that criminals target drivers who leave personal items in their vehicles while completing daily chores. This includes pumping gas at a local gas station, dropping your kids off at day care or school and running other errands. Those who drive large vehicles, such as minivans and SUVs, are even easier targets because their view to the other side of their vehicle is often obstructed.
Below are a few easy steps that will help keep your personal items and your identity safe:
• As soon as you enter your vehicle, lock your doors.
• Always pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you.
• Do not leave valuables such as your purse, briefcase or cell phone in plain view. Place the items under your seat or in the trunk before you arrive at your destination.
• Keep your windows rolled up. This will prevent a thief from reaching into your vehicle.
The Police Department is working hard to catch these criminals, but we need your help to prevent the crime before it happens. We urge you to add these simple crime prevention tips to your daily life. Doing so will help protect yourself, your property and your identity.