Preventing Theft from Motor Vehicles

(Bel Air, MD, May 2, 2008) — Theft from vehicles have increased over the past year. Many of these thefts occur when cars are parked in driveways or along neighborhood streets. The popularity of GPS, radar detectors, cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices often attract thieves.

Teenagers as well as adults often commit these crimes in residential areas, walking from vehicle to vehicle, lifting door handles to see if they can find one unlocked. “These circumstances are categorized as crimes of opportunity because unless the opportunity presents itself, the perpetrators usually do not commit the crime,” said Sgt. Kevin Thomas, supervisor of the Community Policing Unit. The opportunity arises when vehicles are left unsecured and items of value are left in the vehicle. When the perpetrators find an unlocked vehicle, they will open the door and take whatever is easily removed from the vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office offers the following tips to reduce the risk of being a victim of theft from your car.

  • Always lock your vehicle when it is parked. Criminals prey on the easy victim. By simply locking your vehicle the criminal will usually move on.
  • Hide or take it with you. Do not leave purses, wallets, or loose money in your vehicle. If your purse or wallet is taken you could become the victim of other crimes such as stolen checks, credit cards, or even identity theft. Electronics and their accessories, to include cell phone holder, suction cups, power cords, etc., should be placed out of site, when you are not in your car.
  • Park your vehicle in your driveway or garage if possible. If you have a garage or access to a garage, use it and lock it. If you have an attached garage make sure the door between the house and garage is always locked. If your garage door opener is stolen from your vehicle, you risk giving the criminal access to your entire home.
  • Park in a well lit area. Lighting is a deterrent. If a thief has to work in the light, the greater the chance he/she will be caught.

Consider starting or actively participate in a Neighborhood Watch Program. Neighborhood Watch is designed to reduce criminal opportunity and prevent crime through awareness, education, and cooperation between the community and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. To learn more about Neighborhood Watch, contact the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Community Policing Unit at

If you are a victim the Sheriff’s Office encourages you to report the crime. It is difficult for the department to analyze crime trends and patterns without having an accurate picture of what crimes are occurring where.

Media Release

May 02, 2008


  • Sgt. David Betz
  • Monica A. Worrell

Download this press release