Brunswick Co. residents urged to lock car doors after rash of br - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Brunswick Co. residents urged to lock car doors after rash of break ins

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) -

Officials in Brunswick County are investigating about 30 car break ins in the month of August. Most of the reports came from the Leland and Belville areas. Now, the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office is urging residents to be sure to lock their doors.

"The northern part of the county has really been hit hard lately but that's not to say next week it won't be the southern end or the central part or the beach communities. Just lock your cars," Lt. Clint Simpson said. "Take simple precautions to keep your property safe. If it means something to you, safeguard it. You can really take the opportunity away from the criminals."

Officials say car break ins are crimes of opportunity, meaning thieves usually walk door to door and check to see which ones are unlocked. It doesn't seem to matter if the car is in a driveway or a larger parking lot.

"They live in a gated community and they think it's not necessary to lock your doors. It's like a house. That's why they have the locks on them. Use the locks," Simpson said. "It's not going to stop a criminal from getting in the car, but it's going to cause a delay. They break your window out, they're going to have to make noise, which might make the neighbors dog bark or make you look out the window."

Other simple precautions you can take to keep yourself and your stuff safe is to not leave anything valuable inside your car. If you do have to leave your cell phone or wallet, you are urged to hide them either under a seat or in a locked glove compartment.

There are also some items that could compromise your home if they are taken. Things like garage door openers, spare house keys, and even a GPS.

"A lot of people have GPS's now because they don't like reading maps and it's convenient, but a lot of people put their home address in there or places of interest," Simpson said. "It just gives them [thieves] a victim list basically...it's just a good idea to get that stuff out of the vehicle."

Officials say you should also be sure that you are locking your car doors as you're driving. Stop signs or red lights are opportunities that thieves can use to break into your car with you still inside. It's a scary situation that you can prevent by taking certain precautions.

"When you come to a stop sign or a stop light and you're behind another vehicle, you don't have to get right up on the bumper of the vehicle," Simpson said. "Allow yourself enough space when you're stopped to, if you see someone approaching your vehicle that's suspicious, you can go to the left or right to get away with that person at that time. A lot of people don't think about that. They park bumper to bumper at these lights and they're essentially trapped."

For more tips, check out this link: http://blog.allstate.com/10-tips-to-avoid-car-theft.

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