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Keyword: lock

Even during a pandemic, criminals will steal items from your vehicle or steal the car entirely if you give them the opportunity. Don't let your guard down while following the order to stay at home.

Keeping your valuables safe is easy. Follow these simple tips to avoid being a victim.

  • Lock the vehicle! Criminals are opportunists. It's easy for them to walk down the street and jiggle car handles until one opens.
  • Remove items from plain view to reduce someone's desire to break into it. Bring your laptop, wallet, loose change and other valuables inside your home.
  • Bring spare keys inside. If your house keys are on the same ring as your car key, you could make it easy for a criminal to break into your home, as well.
  • Store the garage door opener out of sight. If left in an open vehicle, a burglar could use it to access the garage and steal power tools, bikes and other valuables. If you have an attached garage, you could be giving a thief an open invitation to enter that, as well.
  • Keep your windows rolled up when you park your vehicle to prevent someone from simply reaching in to gain access.

Remember to be a good neighbor. If you see anyone who looks suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 with their description for an immediate police response. Suspicious behaviors or information about a possible crime that does not require immediate assistance can be submitted on the Department's iWatch Baltimore County tip reporting system, even anonymously.

Leaving Your Vehicle Running Unattended is Illegal

There might not be as many people visiting the store because of the coronavirus but that doesn't mean it's safe to leave your vehicle running with the keys in the ignition by itself while you dash inside. It not only leaves your car at risk to be stolen, but it is also illegal.

Maryland Annotated Vehicle Code prohibits an operator of a vehicle to leave a vehicle running and unattended unless the operator:

  • is in charge of a motor vehicle that has had the engine started using a remote keyless ignition system and has been operating unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion; or
  • allows a motor vehicle that is locked and on private property, not open to the public, to operate unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion.

It's The Law

Did you know that leaving a vehicle alone with the engine running is against the law? Officers can issue a ticket that is accompanied by a $70 fine and one point against your driving record. Unattended, running vehicles also pose a safety hazard. If the vehicle slips out of gear and causes an accident, you could be issued a ticket with a $110 fine and three points against your driving record.

Make sure your vehicle doors are locked at all times, spare keys are not left in the vehicle and the vehicle is not left running unattended.

There is no special time of year for criminals to commit a burglary. However, spring and summer make it easier to steal valuables right from under us.

Stop criminals before they strike. Do these easy steps and you’ll keep what belongs to you.

  • Lock your vehicles whenever you park, whether in your driveway or on the street. Thieves go straight to the glove box and other storage areas looking for valuables – even loose change in plain view.
  •  Don’t leave extra keys in the vehicle. Some thieves have used spare keys to steal the vehicle or others at the same address.
  • The spare keys can also be used to make entry your home. This puts you and your family at risk if they get into your home.
  • Have online and other delivery services leave your packages at a designated location. You can specify your work address or a neighbor’s address. Thieves drive through neighborhoods looking for goods left on porches or doorsteps.
  • Always put lawn equipment in a locked shed or garage. If that isn’t possible, store the equipment in your basement.
  • Children’s toys are easy targets, especially bicycles. Put the toys in a locked shed or locked garage. Bring in toys at night or when you will be away for any length of time.

Use your storage areas to keep your valuables safe and use locks and other deterrents such as lighting to keep thieves away.

Don’t help the bad guys. Lock it up!

Revised June 27, 2017