How to Protect Yourself from “Smash and Grab” Vehicle Burglaries

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2017 10:15 am

The Key Biscayne Police Department needs the community's assistance in addressing an increase in vehicle burglaries (smash and grab) at shopping centers. Anyone with information regarding suspicious activity or behaviors should contact the Police Department at (305) 365-5555.


When you're away from your car (in a restaurant or a shopping center, parking in public parking lots or parking garages, etc.), the only thing that comes between an opportunistic thief and the valuables in your car is a sheet of safety glass or often a simple lift of the door handle. Many times car burglars are after unattended belongings left in your car like a cell phone, iPod or even your wallet, purse, laptop or garage door opener that are left in plain sight.

Unfortunately, car burglaries can be expensive, from the cost of repairs to replacing your belongings. They can leave you feeling victimized as well. You can minimize the likelihood you'll fall prey to a costly car burglary by following these simple burglary prevention tips by the Village of Key Biscayne Police Department.

Car Burglary Prevention Tips

  1. Hide your valuables. Smash-and-grab car burglars aren't exactly criminal masterminds. Many simply act on impulse. So keep your valuable belongings with you or out of sight. Car floors, dashboards and seats are not good places to leave items like:
         •  Purses and wallets
         •  Laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks
         •  Shopping bags
         •  Cell phones and MP3 players
         •  Loose change and CDs
         •  Keys

    If you can't take items with you, hide them out of sight in your trunk.

  2. Keep your car visible. The last thing thieves want is a crowd of onlookers to witness their crime. You can help prevent a burglary by parking your car in crowded areas such as:

         •  Busy parking lots and designated spaces, near pedestrian and vehicle traffic
         •  Well-lit spaces, especially those near a lamppost if you're out after dusk
         •  Parking lots with an attendant

  3. Make burglaries difficult. Smash-and-grab car burglars don't want the complexity of a caper movie when stealing your iPod or cash. Every hurdle you can provide makes it more likely they'll move on. Following this simple advice will give you an added layer of protection against car burglaries.
         •  Lock your doors and roll up your windows when you park
         •  Activate your security system
         •  Consider window tinting (if permitted by local laws)
         •  Avoid using the console or glove box as mobile lockboxes

  4. Don't hand a car burglar your keys. Leaving your key on the dash or in the ignition is an invitation to a car burglar. And keep in mind that if you have a great hiding place for a spare key (in your wheel well or above your sun visor), a thief has thought of it, too.

  5. Stow your belongings before you get there. Experienced thieves often stake out parking lots. Move valuable items, like shopping bags and laptops, to your trunk before you get to the parking lot.

  6. Trust your instincts. If you see suspicious activity, find somewhere else to park. Don't confront anyone: If you're concerned, report your suspicions to the police. By reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities, you can help prevent others from becoming victims of a car burglary or another crime.

Note: If you see suspicious activities such as a suspicious person(s) walking in a parking lot between vehicles, looking into vehicles, trying door handles, talking on a cell phone while looking around the parking lot (casing the area),  CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY to help prevent car burglaries and other crimes.



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