Evanston police say they’ve seen a significant increase in burglary to vehicle reports over the past two months, and they’re asking the public to take steps to keep their cars from being hit.

Police Commander Tom Guenther says most of the incidents at night in residential neighborhoods, especially in the city’s 3rd and 6th wards.

He says most often the thieves found the cars unlocked, but in some cases they broke windows to gain access.

Items taken have mostly been GPS devices and iPods.

Guenther says residents can help prevent such incidents by taking the following precautions:

  • Never leave your vehicle unlocked.
  • Never leave any keys in your car.
  • Never leave your vehicle windows partially open.
  • Do not leave items of value in your vehicle such as gps devices, radar detectors, CD players, purses, wallets, checkbooks, credit cards, money, computers, cameras, briefcases, cell phones, jewelry, backpacks and presents.
  • Do not leave your vehicle registration, insurance information or other important documents, with personal information on it, in your glove box.
  • When possible, take your garage door openers inside your home over night.
  • Install a burglar alarm.
  • Install a motion sensing light near residential driveways and garages.
  • Write the make, model and serial number down immediately after purchasing a stereo system, computer, camera, or any electronic equipment. Keep this information in a safe place inside your residence.
  • Consider writing your name or driver’s license number in permanent marker on items such as CD’s, garage door openers, gym bags, back packs or other items of significant value which are predominantly kept in your vehicle.
  • Remember that a stolen item can’t be entered into the stolen data base without a serial number or other identifying number such as a driver’s license or victim name. These identifiers significantly increase the police department’s ability to match stolen property to the victim.
  • If your checkbook, credit card, ATM card or cell phone is stolen, immediately contact the appropriate banking institution, credit card company or cell phone provider to notify them and cancel the service.
  • Consider making photo copies of your credit cards with the contact number to report lost/stolen cards. Keep the photo copies in a safe secure place in the event you need the information after a theft.
  • If you see a suspicious person trying door handles or looking into vehicles, call 911 or the police non-emergency number, 847-866-5000.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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