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Keyword: stolen

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.

The next edition of On the Beat, the Baltimore County Police Department’s cable TV program, runs through January 2020. This edition covers the following segments.

  • Winter and holiday season crime prevention – Officer Gary Doucett of the Towson Precinct provides information and techniques to keep your home and valuables safe and secure. He also reminds us of the fines and points that drivers face if their car is left running unattended.
  • RATT (Regional Auto Theft Task Force) – Sergeant Izaac Hester, of the Regional Auto Theft Task Force, provides insight into the unit's daily activities with a ride along with detectives. He discusses the problem of auto thefts and gives tips to keep your car secure.
  • Unsolved Homicide: Diamonic Reyshann Arca Jones – The public's help is needed in solving the murder of Diamonic Reyshann Arca-Jones, who was a graduate of Parkville High School and a former member of the Junior ROTC. He was fatally shot near the corner of Taylor and Beverly avenues in Parkville on October 20, 2018.

These segments are available online, if you would like to watch it on your own computer, on your own schedule.

On the Beat also airs every day on Cable Channel 25, only in Baltimore County. The times are:

Monday: 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Wednesday: 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Thursday: Noon, 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Over the last month a number of cars have been broken into across the county. There is no particular area that is immune. There is a way to stop some of these thefts – lock your doors.

This may not be a foolproof way to stop them, but thieves are opportunists. They will walk along and check to see which vehicle is unlocked and which isn’t. The odds are that the thief will go for the unlocked vehicle.

We are, for the most part, careful about locking our vehicles while at work, school or shopping, but we tend to be less mindful of locking up when we are home. Don’t get a false sense of security just because the vehicle is in front of your home or in your driveway. Lock your doors!

Thieves are looking for a number of items - change in the cup holder, cellphones, laptops, anything of value. House keys are especially valuable. Not only has the thief gotten into your vehicle, he now has access to your home.

Don’t leave your garage door opener inside your vehicle in full view. This enables thieves to access other items such as bicycles, lawn equipment and maybe another vehicle or even your home.

Lock your vehicle doors at all times. Make life difficult for thieves.

Additional crime prevention tips are available online.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017