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VEHICLE SAFETY TIPS

 

Vehicle Prowlers

You are more likely to be a victim of a vehicle crime than any other crime reported to the Lufkin Police Department. An experienced Car Prowler or Thief can gain access to your car in virtually seconds. In less than 30 seconds, someone could break into a parked car. Most car prowls themselves take less than two minutes. The damage done to locks and windows can be very expensive to repair and cause great inconvenience.

The following are recommendations that can reduce your risk of being a victim of a car prowl or theft.

  • When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, stop and take a look around the area.
  • Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows and lock the car.

  • Make a habit of locking your garage door and car doors.

  • If possible, store your car in a closed and locked garage.
  • If your car is stored in a carport or parked near your house, leave your exterior lights on throughout the night.
  • If you park on the street, choose a well-lit, open space even if it means adding additional street/yard lighting & trimming back trees/bushes that block your view of your vehicle.
  • Consider replacing the light fixture closest to your car with a motion detector unit. Motion detectors are a good psychological deterrents since the normal assumption of a person seeing a light come on is that someone has seen them. Additionally, the light makes the prowler or thief more visible.

Imagine having someone approach you while you are sitting in your car at a traffic signal, pointing a gun at your face and taking your car. Or having your vehicle stolen as you park (even in your own driveway), or while getting gas. It can happen anywhere, not just in "high crime" neighborhoods. It can occur during the daylight as well as after dark.

Car Jacking

Opportunities that carjackers look for

  • Intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs.
  • Parking garages, shopping malls and grocery stores.
  • Self-service gas stations and car washes.
  • Automated teller machines (ATM's)
  • Residential driveways and streets as people get in and out of their cars.
  • Highway exit and entry ramps, or other places where drivers slow down or stop.

Before you enter your car

  • Be alert to any activity near your car. Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • When approaching your car, have your key in your hand, and check the back seat before you get in.
  • If someone is loitering near your unoccupied car as you approach it, keep walking until the person leaves.
  • Be wary of people asking for directions or handing out flyers. Trust your instincts - if something makes you feel uneasy, get into the car quickly, lock the doors and drive away.

Getting out of your car

  • Park in well-lighted areas, near sidewalks or walkways. Avoid parking near dumpsters, woods, large vans or trucks, or anything else that limits your visibility.
  • Never leave valuables in plain view, even if the car is locked. Put them in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Try to park in a garage with an attendant. Leave only the ignition key, with no personal identification.
  • Even if you are rushed, look around before you get out and stay alert to your surroundings.

If it happens to you

  • If a carjacker threatens you with a gun or other weapon, give up your car. Don't argue. Your life is worth far more than a car.
  • Get away from the area as quickly as possible.
  • Notice and remember what the carjacker looked like - sex, race, age, hair, and eye color, special features, clothes and anything specific or unusual like an accent.
  • Report the crime immediately to the police.