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Forest Preserves offers tips to avoid vehicle break-ins

LIBERTYVILLE – During the state’s stay-at-home order, parking lots at many shopping malls and gyms are relatively empty while lots are crowded at forest preserves, grocery stores and hospitals, making them prime targets for crimes of opportunity.

There has been an increase in vehicle break-ins at Lake County Forest Preserve parking lots since the stay-at-home order was activated. Every vehicle that has been burglarized had a valuable item inside.

The Lake County Forest Preserves Ranger Police are reminding the public that during difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to take additional precautions to protect against vehicle break-ins. Ranger police are strongly urging preserve visitors to lock car doors, close windows and keep personal property out of plain view – take it with you or leave it at home.

It takes less than a minute to break a car window, unlock the door and remove items left inside. Often there are no witnesses to these offenses. These larcenies can be prevented with a little foresight and planning. If visitors see suspicious people, vehicles or activities, they should call 847-549-5200 immediately. 

The simple act of placing valuables in the trunk of your car and out of plain view before you arrive at your destination can significantly reduce the likelihood of being a victim of auto burglary. A laptop, cellphone, GPS, wallet, purse or even a cup holder full of change can tempt a would-be thief. You may believe that leaving these items on the floorboard or under the seat and covering over them will keep them safe, but instead it just broadcasts that you may be concealing something of value in your car.

Helpful tips

• Vehicle registration: Black out the address on your registration and photocopy it. Keep the copy, not the original, in your car. You must be able to present it to a police officer upon request.

• Personal information attached to keys: If stolen, having personal information or a vehicle license number attached to your keys only compounds the problem. A criminal now has access to your home, automobile or office.

• Personal mail: Don’t leave it in your car. 

• Garage door opener: Keep it out of sight. 

• Always lock your vehicle and take your keys with you, even for quick errands.

• Never leave your vehicle running.

• Lock your vehicle’s trunk, hatchback or tailgate.

• Close all windows and doors, including vent windows and sunroofs.

• Buy and use a vehicle alarm. You may think no one notices alarms anymore, but they are effective deterrents to thieves looking for an easy target.

• If you have a garage, park and lock your car in it, and lock your garage doors. Always lock your car when it’s parked in the driveway.

• Park in a well-lit area.

• Park in an area visible to pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Before entering your vehicle, scan the surrounding area, and always check the interior and the floor and rear seat areas.

Email your best safety tip to forestpreserves@LCFPD.org. 

Take part in our Preserve Watch program and alert us to any unusual activity you may see on forest preserve property.

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