The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force (SONCATT) want to remind the community the holiday season brings an increase in property crimes including auto burglaries and auto thefts. This is the time of year when consumers are shopping and leaving packages and purses in their vehicles, visible to passers-by. Also, now that the weather is starting to cool down, people are starting their vehicles in the morning and going back inside their residences to stay warm while their vehicles warm up. Both of these scenarios are a recipe for criminal activity.
The CHP and SONCATT remind you to be smart about your personal safety and the protection of property. Do not set yourself up to be a victim of a property crime. Some tips from SONCATT: secure your valuables in the trunk or other locked containers, out of sight. Be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to people who are watching you load your vehicle with valuables and watching you walk away. Keep your purse close to your person, away from the hands of passing thieves. Never leave your unattended vehicle running no matter how safe a location you think you are in. It only takes seconds for someone to get into a car and drive away. A great many auto thefts in Sonoma County occur while the keys are in the vehicle, often in the ignition itself. Keep your doors locked when driving to keep potential carjackers from opening the door as you are stopped in traffic. Do not use hide-a-keys; they are no secret to an experienced thief. Most criminals are desperate; they will break into your car to take anything of value, even if it does not seem valuable to you. Finally, park in a well-lit area.
The CHP and SONCATT also remind you it is illegal to leave an unattended child in a vehicle. The CHP and SONCATT wish you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season!