Police urge residents to lock car doors to stymie thefts

Staff writer

Larcenies from unlocked cars and trucks are a constant problem for police in Greater Williamsburg. What makes the crime all the more frustrating for investigators is there is a simple solution to prevent the crime in the first place: Locked doors.

Larcenies from vehicles are one of the most common crimes in the region, according to James City County Police Department spokeswoman Stephanie Williams. The preventable crime can lead to guns finding their way into the wrong hands.

“Unfortunately, it’s an easy crime,” Williams said. “If people leave that opportunity there by leaving their doors unlocked, somebody can be in and out of a car and grab valuables in just a couple of seconds.”

Typically, thefts from unlocked vehicles occur overnight, but not always, according to Williams. “Residents should always be removing valuables and locking their car doors, regardless of the time of day.”

You wouldn’t leave a pile of cash on your dashboard with the window down, so don’t leave that same pile of cash in an unlocked car, Williamsburg Police Department spokesman Charles Ericsson said. Don’t leave important documents, such as birth certificates and passports, in your vehicle. Don’t leave a laptop sitting in the open.

“These are crimes of opportunity. If people’s doors are unlocked that just invites people to look through their cars,” Ericsson said. “It’s an opportunistic crime. If they see something in there, they’re going to try and get what they want.”

Ericsson and Williams both recommend residents remove firearms from vehicles and put them in a safe storage area, as well as spare keys and garage door openers. Residents should park in a well lit area.

If you see something suspicious in your neighborhood, call the police, Ericsson said.

The James City County Police Department dispatch non-emergency line is 757-253-1800. For the York-Williamsburg-Poquoson police dispatch non-emergency line, call 757-890-3621. In case of emergency, call 911.

Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329, by email at srobertsjr@vagazette.com and on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.

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