OGDENSBURG — A high volume of vehicle break-ins has prompted city police to warn residents about the pitfalls of leaving car and truck doors unlocked and leaving valuables in plain sight of would-be thieves.
“They look for easy targets, quick and fast,” Officer Danielle M. Harte said.
Ms. Harte, who heads the city’s crime prevention program, said since January there have been about 20 incidents where property or money was stolen from vehicles throughout Ogdensburg. Popular targets include electronic devices such as smartphones and car navigation units, as well as purses and even dashboard change.
“If they see a GPS unit, they snag it. Even change or dollar bills stuffed in the cupholder. Basically anything they can utilize or sell on the street,” she said.
The prime hours for car thieves to operate seems to be in the early morning hours between 1 and 4, police said. The crime also appears to be cyclical, coinciding with the arrival of warm weather.
Ms. Harte said spring and summer are times when people are more likely to leave their vehicles and home windows open or unsecured, providing a prime opportunity for opportunistic thieves to strike. She said the best deterrent to safeguard personal property is vigilance coupled with common sense.
“Whether it’s during the day or during night hours, remember to lock your vehicle doors,” Ms. Harte said. “Also, never leave any valuables such as money, stereo equipment, merchandise, purses or wallets in your vehicles.”
Residents also can thwart criminal mischief and property break-ins by keeping an eye out for suspicious individuals either living in the neighborhood or passing through. Ms. Harte, who also spearheads the city’s neighborhood watch program, said police are always nearby and can quickly send a patrol if a concerned neighbor reports something out of the ordinary.
“It’s better to report your concerns, so that our police officers can patrol your area before a crime is committed against you or your neighbors, rather than after the crime has already been committed,” she said. “The personal safety of the residents of the city of Ogdensburg is our number one concern, and we’ll take every necessary step in achieving that.”