7 tips so you won’t be an easy target for auto theft

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — West Michigan law enforcement say vehicle thefts are most frequently crimes of possibility.

People today depart their cars operating in driveways or at gas stations and convenience retailers, opening the doorway for thieves to steal their cars and trucks.

“Unfortunately, there are individuals out there that are just sitting there and viewing,” Kent County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Brunner said.

Other thefts transpire when a person leaves keys or important fobs inside of an unlocked car.

No matter what the approach for robbers, vehicle thefts have soared the past two a long time in West Michigan.

In Grand Rapids, the quantity of stolen cars went from 298 in 2018 to almost 800 previous yr. In Kalamazoo, there had been 350 auto thefts in 2019 and 600 very last yr.

Related: Surge in car thefts hits Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, exactly where virtually 2 autos stolen per day


Police stated that it’s rare for a thief to break into a car or truck and consider to “hot wire” a motor vehicle. Contemporary autos with press-button commences and crucial fobs are unable to be commenced in that fashion.

Right here are some car-theft prevention suggestions proposed by law enforcement in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Kent County:

1. By no means depart keys or vital fobs within of an unattended vehicle. “Don’t make by yourself an effortless goal,” Kent County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Brunner states.

2. Believe 2 times about leaving a motor vehicle functioning in a driveway to heat it up and never go away a parked car or truck managing when likely into a gas station or comfort retail outlet. Specialists say to buy a distant starter for uses of warming a automobile or lock the doors and use a second crucial to obtain the car or truck. “I consider for most of us, it takes place when we minimum count on it,” Kalamazoo Division of General public Security Sgt. Chuck Mason mentioned.

3. Install a GPS tracking product, insurance coverage companies suggest. It may aid police track and find the automobile faster.

4. Normally lock the doors when leaving the motor vehicle unattended.

5. Park in very well-lit spots.

6. Devote in anti-theft technology, these as an alarm system or a steering wheel club.

7. Do not depart valuables in your vehicle, this kind of as desktops, purses and firearms that could attract a thief.

Grand Rapids police also have warned individuals in the previous that leaving a automobile running and unattended is a town ordinance violation. A violation is a civil infraction, punishable by a fine.

It’s not clear how quite a few citations, if any, have been issued in current years.

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