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Your GPS could be a big score for car thieves

Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 4:41pm

Car thefts are highest during the summer months, and the Baton Rouge Police Department wants you to avoid being a victim.

With school out, juvenile crime peaks during the summer. That leads to more thefts, and cars are a big target. Parking your car in a well lit area and removing all valuable items are key to avoiding becoming a victim. That's because electronic items like GPS could be more inviting to a crook than you might realize.

"If you're not home and they steal your GPS out of your vehicle, they push ‘home’ and it's going to take them directly to your home, knowing that you're not there because they just saw your car parked at the football game or some function,” Sgt. Don Stone, Baton Rouge Police Department, explained.

Rather than using your home address for GPS, Police suggest using the address of a business located near your home.

Other tips to keep your valuables safe:

• Park in open, well-lighted, and populated areas near your destination, preferably one in view of a security camera. Avoid parking near trucks, vans, dumpsters, and other objects that obstruct visibility and provide hiding places. Avoid parking near strangers loitering or sitting in vehicles.

• Park in lots or garages where you don’t have to leave your keys.

• Park in your garage, if you have one. Don’t leave your vehicle on the street, in an alley, or on your driveway. If you have to park on a street, avoid dark or isolated areas.

• Turn off your engine, roll up all windows, lock all doors, and take your keys with you even if you are making a quick stop at a store or gas station, or even in your driveway. Close all windows and lock the trunk and hood.

• Don’t leave spare keys in your vehicle. An experienced thief knows all the hiding places. Store spare keys in your wallet.

• Don’t leave your vehicle in an unattended public lot for an extended period time.

• Install an alarm system that will sound when someone attempts to break in, move, tilt, or start your vehicle. Always activate the system when leaving the vehicle.

• Check your vehicle if you hear the alarm sound. But don’t try to stop a person attempting to break in. Get a good description of the person and call 911.

• When you lock your vehicle with a Remote Keyless Entry make sure that all the doors are locked before leaving your vehicle, especially in public parking lots.

• Do not leave valuables in plain sight inside of the vehicle.

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