Janesville police urge people to lock cars after rash of thefts

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, November 30, 2017

JANESVILLE—Janesville police say thefts from cars are up this year, and they expect a spike in such thefts during the holiday shopping season.

Police have responded to 370 thefts from motor vehicles so far in this year, said police Sgt. Aaron Ellis.

That compares with 234 thefts from motor vehicles in all of 2016 and 378 in 2015, Ellis said.

Police have received 42 reports of thefts from cars in November alone. Ellis said that's probably because the weather has been warmer than usual.

Typically, thefts from cars spike in the summer months because of warm weather, young people being out of school and people spending more time outside, Ellis said.

Most of the thefts could have been prevented if the vehicles were locked, police believe.

Thieves most often bypass locked cars because they are likely to find an open one nearby, Ellis said.

Cases of entry into cars by breaking windows are rare because thieves know they are more likely to be detected because of the time it takes to break in and the noise they make, Ellis said.

Thieves took firearms from vehicles in two recent cases, and the weapons have not been recovered, according to a police news release.

Police advise people to remove valuables from their vehicles overnight and, if possible, park in a secure garage or at least in a lighted area.

And hide gift purchases in the trunk. Thieves know people often have holiday packages in their cars, Ellis said.

Ellis noted that this week typically sees spikes in thieves grabbing packages delivered to porches after Cyber Monday shopping.

Ellis suggests that people who can't be at home to get deliveries ask a trusted neighbor or family member to secure those packages.

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