RCPD warns shoppers about thieves - KOTA Territory News

RCPD warns shoppers about thieves

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Rapid City, S.D. –With the busiest shopping day of the year just around the corner, police are asking shoppers to take precautions to keep their personal property safe. As Black Hills consumers visit Rapid City retailers to shop for the perfect Christmas gifts, thieves are out shopping too.

"Car burglaries are often a crime of opportunity," said Sgt. John Olson. "If you leave packages, purses or electronics on vehicle seats, thieves may decide to do a little shopping of their own, straight from your vehicle."

The increased traffic in Rapid City over Thanksgiving weekend, paired with full parking lots and harried shoppers, makes this a common time for car burglars to be out and about. Vehicle burglaries are difficult to solve, and police currently investigate hundreds of these crimes each year.

Car burglaries are largely preventable; the majority of car burglaries in Rapid City occur when vehicles are left unlocked, with valuable items in plain sight. Shoppers can make their vehicles less appealing targets by keeping the doors locked at all times, and putting valuables in the trunk.

"Thieves are looking for an easy steal, and if your car is locked and it appears there's nothing inside, they'll more than likely look for an easier target," Olson said. "We feel Rapid City is safe, but we investigate hundreds of car burglaries each year where the owners have left their cars unlocked. Don't make yourself a victim by leaving things in plain sight in an unlocked car."

Tips to prevent car burglaries:

  • Don't leave your purse, wallet, cell phone, iPod or other valuable items in the car. If you must, lock them out of sight in the trunk.
  • Always, always lock your car doors, even if you're just running inside for a minute. Lock it or lose it!
  • Make sure all windows and the sun roof are closed before leaving your parked car.
  • Park in well-lit areas with lots of people around. Burglars prefer to work in dark, isolated areas. (See http://youtu.be/_UOe9-F0QgY)
  • Never leave a spare key with the car. You may think you have a great hiding place, but the thief will probably find it.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious activity. If you see someone checking car handles or looking in car windows, call the police immediately.
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