Preventing auto prowls & theft

Car prowls and thefts are a problem city-wide, including in the Ravenna-Byant area.  The following chart, from the Seattle Police Department’s online crime map, shows that auto thefts were up at the end of 2013 compared to previous years.

What can be done to prevent auto crimes?

From the Seattle Police Department’s webpage about car prowls:

You are more likely to be a victim of a vehicle crime than any other crime reported to the Seattle Police Department. An experienced Car Prowler or Thief can gain access to your car in virtually seconds. In less than 30 seconds, someone could break into a parked car. Most car prowls themselves take less than two minutes.

The following are recommendations that can reduce your risk of being a victim of a car prowl or theft.

    • When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, stop and take a look around the area.
    • Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows and lock the car.
    • Make a habit of locking your garage door and car doors.
    • If possible, store your car in a closed and locked garage.
    • If your car is stored in a carport or parked near your house, leave your exterior lights on throughout the night.
    • If you park on the street, choose a well-lit, open space even if it means adding additional street/yard lighting & trimming back trees/bushes that block your view of your vehicle.

SPD provides the following information about auto theft:

  • More than two thirds of all auto thefts occur at night.
  • Approximately 86% of the stolen vehicles are recovered
  • While some vehicles are definitely stolen to be sold, or dismantled for parts, the large majority are simply used as temporary transportation by common criminals. Thus, most vehicles are recovered within a few weeks to a month and with relatively little damage.
  • Auto theft happens fast.  An expert auto thief can break into and steal a car in less than a minute.  An unoccupied car, with it’s engine running, can be taken in seconds.

Here are some tips for preventing auto theft:

  • Don’t leave your keys in your car.
  • Close your windows and lock your doors whenever you leave your car, regardless of how long you plan to be gone.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Keep your car in a garage if you have one.
  • Park in lots that have attendants.
  • Use an anti-theft device whenever you leave your car .