Hide your stuff. Lock your car. Take your keys.
Doing those simple things could help you prevent your car being broken into. Those slogans are part of an awareness campaign the Port Orange Police Department has underway to deter car breaks and auto theft.
“Chief (Thomas) Grimaldi specifically mentioned this issue to me and we began a social media push on Facebook and Instagram to help educate our citizens on how to prevent vehicle burglaries,” said POPD Public Information Office Andre Fleming.
The POPD's tips:
•Remove all valuables and items in plain view
•Remove your keys, key fobs and garage door openers
•Lock your doors.
“As is common, our number one culprit for these burglaries are primarily school-aged teenagers,” Officer Ware said. “In the summer time, with students being out of school, our car break numbers inevitably increase.”
On June 15, POPD posted on social media, “In the past week we have had nearly 30 vehicle burglaries and multiple cars stolen. It’s summertime, which means that our primary offenders for vehicle burglaries are out of school on summer break. While our officers are actively patrolling, we cannot be everywhere at once. Help us help you by taking your valuables (most importantly YOUR KEYS) and locking your vehicles.”
Also, “There is no area that’s being hit most. We increase patrols in one area, and the next day a neighborhood on the opposite side of the city is hit. It’s across the city (in various neighborhoods). Additionally, if we tell you it’s “X” neighborhood, they will see it, and hit “Y” neighborhood. We just need everyone to do their part.”
Numbers are slightly improved in Port Orange, however. At this time in 2020, there were 91 car break-ins compared to 81 so far this year.
Social media is ablaze with people talking about their cars being broken into.
Mary Yeager, who lives in Daytona Beach, recently posted “Car break-ins have escalated lately all over Volusia County.”
Chris Borgeson of Daytona Beach Shores posted, “If you have a garage door opener clipped to your visor, a thief can get your address off your registration, take your opener, and get into your home. LOCK YOUR DOORS…CAR AND HOME!”
Statistics for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office are promising. Andrew Gant, Sheriff’s Department spokesman, said.
“For us, car breaks were down 41% from Jan. 1 to June 5 of this year compared to the same time frame last year.”
In New Smyrna Beach, Police Lt. Christopher Kirk stated, “Though our numbers show that there has been a slight increase in vehicle burglaries over the last month, we’re still dealing with a small sample size, and those numbers are lower than the same time last year (all under 10 vehicles burglarized per month). We have seen an increase in 'smash and grab' style vehicle burglaries as of late, and would encourage people to remove their valuables from their vehicles when parked and never leave anything in plain view.”
He added, “Generally most vehicle burglaries are to unlocked vehicles, so keeping your vehicles locked will discourage most would-be thieves. It’s also best to make sure there is ample lighting, and ideally video surveillance, where your vehicle is parked overnight.”
In Daytona Beach there is also a slight uptick in car breaks since summer started, but that’s usually the case once school’s out. There are more reports lately in Daytona from people whose vehicles are locked but criminals are breaking in anyway, usually to take anything valuable hidden in plain view. Think anything electronic (laptops and phones in particular), wallets, purses, jewelry and weapons (guns especially).
The Daytona Beach police stress that people should keep vehicle doors locked, especially when you are getting out. A 9 p.m. routine is a good way to make sure you always keep your vehicle doors locked. (That can also work for home protection.)