RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – A new program with Richmond police could have them making house calls. A string of 20 car thefts over the last month has prompted police to start knocking on doors and it could be in the middle of the night.
Officers will run the license plate of a vehicle with valuables that are visible to see if the vehicle is registered to an address nearby.
If so, the owner can expect a knock on the door to warn them their property could be stolen. Officers will conduct these house calls from midnight to 4 a.m.
Police said the initiative will target neighborhoods such as the Carver District, Ginter Park, and Bellevue.
Here are some tips from our Beat the Traffic provider on how to avoid car theft and a possible wake up call from police:
- Don’t leave your car unlocked. Approximately 50 percent of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked.
- Never leave your car running, even if you’ll only be gone for a minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATMs, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold mornings when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up.
- Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk out of sight.
- Park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas, when possible
- Don’t leave the registration or Title in Your Car. A car thief will use these to sell your stolen car. File the title at your home or office, and carry registration in your purse or wallet.
- If possible, have your windows tinted. Tinted windows make it harder for a thief to see what belongings you have in the car and to figure out how to break in.
- Copy your license plate and vehicle information (VIN) numbers on a card and keep them with you. If your vehicle is stolen, the police will need this information to take a report; and,
- Install an audible alarm system and a visible anti-theft device
Car thieves tend to avoid cars with alarms or anti-theft devices because they attract attention when they go off. These devices are well worth the investment.
- Consider installing a GPS tracking system
When your car is stolen, this tracking system will emit a signal to the police of your vehicle’s location. This may help the police recover your vehicle faster and may minimize the damage to your car. This may be a good investment if you live in an area with high auto theft rates.
- Park With Your Wheels Turned Toward the Curb. Make your car tough to tow away. Wheels should also be turned to the side in driveways and parking lots.
If your car is stolen, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends you give the following information to the police:
- The year, make, model and color of the car and the license plate number
- Approximate time the car was stolen
- Description of anyone you saw loitering around your car before it was stolen
- Names of witnesses