Rising popularity of expensive electronic devices for motor vehicles has apparently made automobile burglaries more attractive to criminal offenders.
A recent rash of break-ins in southwestern Price along with an increase in car burglaries and thefts nationwide have left many Carbon County residents concerned about the possibility of having personal belongings stolen from motor vehicles.
Extra law enforcement presence and a concentration on areas known for criminal activities was used by the Price City Police Department to help stop the rash of car burglaries during April and May.
"We were really getting hit badly," said Capt. Kevin Drolc, Price City Police Department. "We gave them some extra attention and it stopped."
Even with extra police attention, there are still the occasional unrelated break-ins around the county and the possibility of an auto burglary or vehicle theft is greater than most law abiding citizens may believe.
Nationwide, motor vehicles are stolen at a rate of one per minute, meaning more than one million automobiles will be stolen a year.
Late model cars or the sporty high-powered vehicles are primary targets. Of the automobiles stolen, 80 percent had been left unlocked and 40 percent had the keys left in the ignition.
Vehicle alarm systems are designed to protect cars and personal belongings inside the vehicles.
While alarm systems are becoming more popular on newer model vehicles, many older cars are not equipped with the devices, leaving owners unprotected from burglaries.
For people with money to spend on alarm systems, the devices can be purchased and easily installed.
But for residents who cannot afford the systems, there are several ways the chance of a vehicle burglary can be reduced.
The most important deterrent is for residents to avoid leaving keys in cars and always locking the doors.
Most burglaries occur to unlocked vehicles, while the majority of cars stolen are the automobiles with keys left in the ignition.
"The best thing is locking doors and not leaving valuables in cars," advised Drolc.
Windows should also be closed or rolled up before leaving an automobile.
When shopping or on vacation, vehicle owners should not extend an invitation to subjects looking for easy targets.
Packages and luggage should be kept in the trunk of the car rather than in the front or back seat so the items are not visible to potential thieves.
Exercising the precaution is especially important during the holiday season when the majority of the vehicle burglaries tend to occur.
Leaving checkbooks, credit cards and any other valuables in vehicles should also be avoided if possible. These items will not be overlooked by any professional thief.
If out at night, park in well-lit and well-traveled areas. This makes it safer when returning to the car and more difficult for someone looking for a car to break into.
Hidden keys are also a bad idea to have on vehicles. Any experienced car thief will be able to easily find hidden keys.
"Watch out for suspicious activity," said Drolc. All suspicious cars or people lingering around neighborhoods or parking lots should be reported to the police. Abandoned cars should also be reported.
Even if vehicle owners are careful, it is still possible to have a car broken into. All vehicle owners should be aware of what is in their cars at all times. If a car is broken into and belongings are stolen, specific information on what was in the car can help local officers a great deal.
A description along with a brand and serial number of any accessory should be written down for records. Accessories in cars can include cell phones, stereos, CD players, speakers and other electronics.
Year, make, model and vehicle identification number should also be recorded in the case of a car theft. Tire size and brand information can also help authorities identify stolen cars.