A Message About Auto Burglary From Chief Woodside

Burglar Proofing Your Car in Three Words; Lock, Take, Hide

Can you actually make your car burglar proof? Maybe not, but you can go a long way toward reducing the likelihood you will be a victim, and it has nothing to do with an alarm system or more police officers. It is much simpler than that. In fact, it comes down to three simple words: lock, take, hide.

We discovered that over 93% of car burglaries in residential neighborhoods were to vehicles that were left unlocked. Actually, the remaining 7% included incidents where the owner reported locking their car, but there was no broken glass or other evidence of forced entry, so the actual number is closer to 100%. Don’t miss that. Almost every vehicle burglary on a residential street, parking lot or driveway was through an unlocked car door.

We also discovered that a vast majority of car burglaries in commercial areas were to vehicles that had high value items in plain view inside the car. Burglars are much more willing to break a window and force entry when they can see something of value, like a purse, laptop or GPS unit.

With this information our Crime Prevention Technician, Tom Agos, discovered a program called “Lock, Take, Hide” in use in other communities around the country that addressed the fundamental weaknesses that lead to these crimes.

In 2009, with the initial help from a grant from Target, the simple message to “Lock your car, take your keys and hide your belongings” began appearing on signs around Gurnee. Since that time we have been getting the word out by increasing the number of signs, through Neighborhood Watch meetings, the Village website, social media and every venue we have to repeat the simple message, “Lock, Take, Hide.”

The result? A 42% drop in auto burglaries the first year and a sustained decrease of 29% since 2009 (when compared to the years 2004 through 2009). It only works because the word is getting out and you are making yourself a harder target.

Auto burglary is a serious crime. Auto burglaries result in property damage, property loss, police staffing costs, and most importantly, the feeling that you have been violated. Other serious crimes such as identity theft, motor vehicle theft, and residential burglary have been linked to auto burglaries.

You can make a difference by always remembering to “Lock your car, take your keys and hide your belongings” and by sharing this message with everyone you know.


Chief Kevin M. Woodside

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