By Nancy Leighton
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a well-known saying the Atlanta Police Department (APD) would like drivers to keep in mind when parking vehicles at home or out in the community. Predatory criminals are prowling all the neighborhoods in the Atlanta metro region, looking for property to steal or vandalize. They are targeting cars, homes, businesses, and public property. If these perpetrators don’t see anything of value, it is hoped that they will move on. It is believed that criminals look for something they can clearly see before they decide to take the chance of breaking in.
Throughout the city, police are talking to Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) and neighborhood organizations about the department’s Clean Car Campaign. For months, Zone 6 Day Watch Commander Lt. Marshall Robeson has been going around to meetings in the area, urging residents to follow the recommendations of the Clean Car Campaign. The recommendations are as follows:
- Turn off the engine when you leave your vehicle.
- Remove the keys and take them with you.
- Close all windows.
- Remove GPS units and their mounts.
- Remove all cell phones and smart phones.
- Remove laptops and tablet computers.
- Remove all electronic cords, power sources, and chargers.
- Remove purses, brief cases, gym bags, book bags, shopping bags, and even diaper bags.
- Do not leave any form of money such as coins or bills out in the open where they can be seen through the windows.
- Do not leave any firearms in your vehicle.
- Lock all doors.
It takes planning and consistency to keep a clean car by removing all belongings. According to Lt. Robeson, most car break-ins are committed by juveniles, and car break-ins are the one crime that is most responsible for increasing crime statistics. Crime victims should call 911 immediately. Too many people tweet or text their friends or parents first in an emergency. Instead, they should make that first call to 911 so the police can be on their way.