October 23, 2018

Chief Hannah asks residents to be vigilant after weekend thefts

(Franklin, GA) — The Franklin Police Department is investigating several entering auto incidents that occurred in residential neighborhoods during the nighttime hours over the weekend.

The FPD responded to four entering auto calls early Sunday and have generally documented an increase in these types of theft recently.

Two of these incidents were reported in the Tuscan Hills subdivision and the others were on Newnan Street and Cedar Street, all in the city of Franklin.

“In each of these auto break-ins, the victim reported that the vehicle had been left unlocked and upon discovery of the theft,” said Chief Hannah. “The storage compartments within the vehicles had been left in disarray with items taken ranging from firearms, money, and electronics.”

A monetary reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for these thefts is being offered.

According to a press release issued by the Chief, extra patrols of these areas have been set in place along with additional surveillance elements in an attempt to identify the person or persons responsible.

“We are asking that residents be vigilant and work with law enforcement by reporting any suspicious activity,” added Chief Hannah. “It is also important to remember to keep vehicles locked and any valuables out of plain sight — or remove the items when the vehicle is unoccupied.”

Anyone with information can remain anonymous and citizens are urged to contact the Franklin Police Department at (706) 675-6624.

 

Tips to prevent car break-ins

Each year, $1.255 billion in personal items and accessories are stolen from vehicles in about 1.85 million thefts; and for every theft, experts estimate, there are several break-ins and attempted break-ins. With these common sense habits and preventative measures, you can greatly reduce the chances your vehicle will become a target.

Lock your doors

While this piece of advice should be a no-brainer, up to a quarter of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars, according to some law enforcement agencies. Even if you’re running into the store for a Coke, that’s too long to leave your vehicle’s contents open for the taking. Simply locking the doors will deter those who might just be waiting around for an easy target.

Keep it tidy

Almost any worthless personal item that’s visible from the outside — even an empty shopping bag — could be seen as a valuable or a carrier of valuables. If you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area on display, consider getting a cover. Most of these vehicles can be fitted with inexpensive retractable covers to help keep shopping bags or other belongings out of sight.

Conceal all the evidence

Don’t leave any bait out for thieves; stow your electronics and accessories well out of sight-or better yet, bring it with you. The evidence alone might be enough to pique the interest of thieves, so hide that too, including power plugs, telltale iPod adapters, or nav-system windshield suction-cup mounts, and even put the cigarette lighter back in place.

Stash before — not after — you park

Get in the habit of putting shopping bags in the trunk right when you return to the vehicle, rather than after you park at the next place. According to National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) spokesman Frank Scafidi, thieves sometimes linger in busy parking lots looking for valuables being moved out of sight. Don’t display to them what you have.

Completely close windows and sunroofs

No, it’s not just because thieves might reach in through the gap and open your locks with a coat hanger. Open windows will disable the pressure sensor in some car alarms, leaving the vehicle more vulnerable to break-in and potentially giving thieves more time before the alarm sounds.

Get an alarm

If you don’t have an alarm system, get one. The noise alone may be enough to scare away an inexperienced thief and prevent the break-in. Factory-option alarm systems are generally best, but a carefully installed, properly calibrated aftermarket system can provide just as much safety. Beware, many less-expensive new cars have remote entry but not a true alarm.

Stick with the original audio system

Thefts of car audio components are on the decline, but having an aftermarket system still makes a car more attractive to thieves thinking of breaking in. There’s no black market to speak of for factory stereos, and they’ve become much better sounding in recent years.

Park for visibility

Park in a busy, well-lit area, and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage. Except for the most brazen thieves, the greater the chances are that someone might see a crime in progress, the lower the chances are that the potential thief will attempt it.

Get physical

A significant portion of vehicles are broken into with the intent of stealing the vehicle itself, so combining several visible simple, inexpensive physical theft deterrents like steering wheel locks (The Club), steering column collars, or brake pedal locks may discourage the would-be thief from breaking in and trying.

Layer your defenses

That’s the strategy recommended by the NICB; layers include warning devices such as alarms, wheel etching, or decals; immobilizers; and even tracking systems (LoJack is one). “None of them are foolproof, but if they’re used in tandem they can really keep the chances down,” agrees Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

Sources: The National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Insurance Information Institute, Progressive, and AAA.

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