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Prevent vehicular burglaries this summer

Special to the Courier

Across the Hill Country, there has been an increase in thefts from vehicles within the last few weeks. According to a press release from the Kerrville Police Department, these crimes occur mainly during nighttime hours, and are not limited to any day of the week.
The public is urged to be vigilant and help stop these crimes.
Most of these crimes occur because people leave car doors unlocked or leave valuables in plain sight. The most likely targets for theft are firearms, purses, wallets, expensive sunglasses, watches, camera gear, MP3 players, GPS systems, satellite radio receivers, cell phones, gym bags, computers, after-market stereos, CDs, speakers, power tools, gardening tools, spare change and mail – all of which are portable.
Vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity, and carelessness often results in vehicles being broken into.
Law enforcement administrators suggest taking these simple, but important steps to maintain your car’s safety:
• Do not leave valuables in your car. That sounds like common sense, but both drivers and passengers often leave items of value in plain view everyday. If you leave valuable items visible in your car, your car automatically becomes a target.
• If you must leave valuable items in your car while out and about, place items out of sight before reaching your destination or move them inconspicuously.
• Once home, unload your valuables immediately. Do not store valuables in your car any longer than necessary – and certainly never overnight.
• Try to park in busy, well-lighted areas, or in your garage if you have one.
• Close windows and lock all of your vehicle’s doors even if you plan to be gone for only a brief time. Every week, items are stolen from unlocked vehicles where the owner expected to be away for “just a second.”
• Set any alarm or anti-theft device. If you have one, use it! Many people believe that car alarms no longer make a difference, but they can be an effective deterrent to an auto burglary.
• Don’t think your dark tinted windows will hide your valuables. Thieves often use flashlights to see through tint, and after-market tint is handy to keep all the broken glass in one “sheet” when they break out your window.
If, despite taking precautions, your vehicle is burglarized, take the following steps:
• As soon as possible, call law enforcement and report the incident.
• Try to minimize contact with your vehicle.
• If you see suspicious activity, call law enforcement immediately.
Bandera County residents are encouraged to call the sheriff’s office’s non-emergency line 830-796-3771 to report all suspicious activity. Use 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
The eyes of the community will help deter crimes and assist catch criminals.