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Thefts from autos up; APD offers caution tips

ALBANY -- In the holiday season it is easy to let the guard down -- thieves count on that, Albany Police Department officials said.

"In the past couple of weeks property crimes throughout the city have increased," said APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks. "Specifically there has been a slight jump in entering auto cases."

Entering auto is police jargon for a thief opening an unlocked door, breaking a window on a car door that is locked to enter and stealing anything in the vehicle.

While locking valuables in the trunk seems a good idea, said police Cpl. Jorge Lopez, if there isn't a way to lock the trunk release button in the car, it won't work.

"A thief could just break the window and hit the trunk release button," Lopez said. "It is best to have a button that locks."

For locks to work, people have to use them. In November a police report stated that there were 64 cases of entering auto reported. Of those, 48 were unlocked cars, the report added.

Not only that, but the valuables were left out in sight of thieves checking parked cars for what they could steal. More than 25 vehicles were parked at the residence or apartment complex of victims when thieves struck.

Residents should report suspicious people roaming in parking lots at the non-emergency dispatch number (229) 431-2132, Crime Stoppers at (229) 436-TIPS (8477) or (229) 431-3288, Banks said. If there is an emergency call 911, she added.

To prevent vehicle break ins, residents should take the following precautions:

- Keep all doors locked with windows rolled up completely.

- Do not leave valuables visible inside the vehicle.

- Secure all valuables inside the trunk of vehicles, and if the trunk can

be opened from inside the vehicle-be sure to lock the trunk release button

- Invest in a car alarm.

- Do not leave purses/wallets visible on the seats or the floorboards of vehicles.

- Do not leave keys inside vehicles or leave vehicles unattended and running.