Lower your risk of a vehicle break-in

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Updated: 3/24/2014 6:21 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Have you ever thought about what you leave in the car when you go to the park, and who might be looking at it?

As temperatures rise, so do vehicle burglaries, especially in recreational areas where burglars know you're going to be away from your vehicle for a while.

"Our river parks, particularly on the west end of town such as Mayberry and Derostkar, where we are today, some of those parks tend to be fairly vulnerable," said Washoe County Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Harmon.

Harmon said vehicle burglaries in parks happen all the time, and a busier park doesn't mean a safer lot because people are off enjoying themselves.

"They're going to go picnic, they're taking their kids to the playground, they're going to go fish or rafting," Harmon said. "So people aren't necessarily hanging around the parking lot and keeping an eye on the cars."

But the bad guys are. 

"A would-be burglar is looking for his easiest opportunity to break into a vehicle," Harmon said.

So what makes your vehicle a target? We asked Harmon to show us, so you know how to protect yourself.

"What this person's done here that I like is all the windows are fully up," Harmon said.

Cracked windows are an invitation. So are items in plain sight. 

"There's a blanket up front," Harmon said. "It may be covering something underneath it like a wallet or a purse."
Harmon said leave your valuables at home or put them in the trunk before you leave, not when you get to the park like most people do.

"People tend to pull into the trail head and then they hide everything then go out and hit the trail," he said. "It could very well be that the would-be vehicle burglar is already sitting at the trail head and watching where you're hiding everything."
So what does Harmon do when he's out on the trail? 

"I'll take maybe my drivers license, get a rubber band and put just enough cash that if I need cash I've got it," Harmon said.

He said leaving valuables at home gives him peace of mind. 

"When I'm out on the trail or I'm out riding my bike, my mind isn't drifting back to the car and wondering," he said.

Harmon said in at least two-thirds of the cases the sheriff's office investigates, the vehicles that were burglarized were left unlocked. So one of the most important and easiest things you can do to protect your vehicle is to make sure you lock your doors before you leave.
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