Vehicle Theft Prevention
During the 2010 calendar year, 226 vehicles were stolen in the City of Monterey Park. This is an increase of 34 (11.5%) as compared to the 2009 calendar year. Additional information is that every 30 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the United States. Though auto theft continues to rise locally and nationally, the Monterey Park Police Department is committed to working with the community in minimizing and preventing auto theft. In past years, vehicles were stolen primarily to be stripped of their parts. The current crime trend is to steal cars for the purpose of stealing personal property from inside the vehicle and obtaining personal information with the intent to commit identity theft.
The Monterey Park Police Department is recommending the following to assist you in preventing vehicle theft and minimizing identity theft:
- Park your vehicle in a secure location. In order of preference:
- In a locked garage
- Behind a locked gate
- In your driveway
- In an attended parking lot
- In a well lit area (install motion sensors around your house)
- Make it harder for suspects to take your vehicle. Most suspects are opportunists and look for the easiest vehicle to steal.
- Always roll up the windows, lock the doors, and take the keys.
- Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine on.
- Discourage vehicle theft by using a steering wheel lock. Most suspects will move onto another vehicle that is easier and less work to steal.
- Install and monitor your vehicle alarm system. Suspects will sometimes intentionally set off the vehicle alarm to see if anyone checks on it. Generally, people checking on their activated vehicle alarm will look out the window and upon seeing the vehicle in tact, will overlook further alarm activations. It is recommended that the vehicle be physically checked for the cause of activation.
- Install a "kill switch", vehicle recovery system or any reputable anti-theft device.
- Consider re-keying your older vehicle's ignition and door locks. It is common for suspects to use a shaved key to easily enter your vehicle and start the engine. Using a shaved key is easy work for the thief and gives the appearance of someone (looking like the owner) simply entering his or her own vehicle.
- Never leave valuable items in your vehicle. That cellular phone, loose coin/money in the ashtray, laptop computer, briefcase, etc. can be easily taken by smashing the window. Consider removing all potential valuables from your vehicle's interior and trunk. If you have to place valuables in the trunk, be mindful that others may be watching you place these items inside the trunk.
- Avoid leaving items in your vehicle that contain your personal information (mail, check stubs, check books, passports, etc.). An increasing amount of vehicle thefts are committed for the purpose of obtaining goods and personal information for committing identity theft.