Stay vigilant to prevent auto theft

Published on April 05, 2022

thief breaking into car

Overall, total crime dropped by 5% in Lakewood in 2021 compared to 2020, including a reduction in overall property crime, which fell by 6%.

While home burglaries are down, auto thefts increased in 2021, as they did throughout L.A. County and the region, and they continue to persist as part of a countywide problem at present.

Lakewood has taken two key steps at the city level to combat the problem:

1.  Focused the city’s deputy team of Special Assignment Officers on auto theft spikes in neighborhoods.

2.  Paid for extra Deputy Sheriff patrols dedicated to reducing auto thefts.

How your vehicle may be vulnerable to theft and burglary

Most vehicle break-ins are crimes of opportunity because vehicles are left unlocked and items of value are left inside.

It is a common practice for thieves to walk neighborhoods late at night checking car doors to see if they are unlocked. Once they find a vehicle that is unlocked, it is only a matter of seconds before valuables are taken, or the vehicle itself is stolen.

Many vehicles are a target for criminals when selecting a vehicle to burglarize or steal, such as:

  • Older model vehicles because they are usually easier to break into and often do not have an alarm system installed.
  • ‘Work trucks’ are favorites of thieves looking to steal tools and equipment.
  • SUVs are a target for thefts of third-row backseats.
  • High clearance vehicles or vehicles with an easily accessible catalytic converter are targets for catalytic converter theft.
  • Trucks are targets for their tailgates.

Here are some tips to protect your property:

  • Make sure every door is locked, every window is rolled up, and the alarm is set before you walk away. Check your sunroof and lock your tailgate.
  • Never leave your key inside the vehicle, even if it is not in plain sight.
  • Never leave your vehicle running or unattended.
  • Park in well-lit areas when possible.
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle. Loose change and phone chargers are enough for a thief to consider breaking into your vehicle.
  • Have your vehicle’s VIN etched on the catalytic converter or a cage installed around the catalytic converter.

If you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood call the Lakewood Sheriff's Station to report the activity at 562-623-3500. If you see a crime in progress, always call 9-1-1.

Please share this information with your family, friends and neighbors. It will take everyone looking out for one another to prevent crimes of opportunities from happening on our streets. If you notice a neighbor has left their vehicle unlocked or their windows rolled down, help them out by letting them know. You could be preventing them from experiencing an unfortunate situation, just by being a good neighbor and friend.

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