Be smart - lock up cars and valuables

Last week local law enforcement told the Clarion that area vehicle thefts are more common than one might imagine.

And the reason for them is a bit of a head-scratcher.

Simply put, car thefts in the area are crimes of opportunity — thieves easily find keys inside of the car, running or not. They can take the car for a joy ride, strip the valuables from the inside and leave it in the ditch.

Don’t give them the chance.

Since running the story, we’ve heard from a few other residents who have had their cars stolen in the same manner and one Soldotna woman said her car was taken from her driveway, adding that’s a “violating feeling.” We can’t imagine.

Often our keys contain more access than we’d like — home and office keys, post office box, others’ homes and cars — and yet so many of us feel safe leaving them on the seat of the car.

Well, the days when residents could feel safe doing that are over. The best protection is taking your keys out of the car, locking it and making sure it is parked in a well-lighted and visible location.

This winter we will undoubtedly see scores of cars running in the grocery store parking lot while residents run in to grab something and think nothing of it. If you need to warm up your car, take five minutes and do it in a location where you can comfortably keep an eye on it.

Don’t give criminals the opportunity.

Car theft is also part of a larger theft problem in the area as residents regularly report missing valuables that weren’t under lock and key. It can be shocking to find a camera, wallet, cell phone or other item missing from your car, boat, shed or even home when you least expect it.

Again, lock it up. If criminals know locals are smart about the easy avenues they use to steal, perhaps we can keep such activity from growing.

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