DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — The Dartmouth Police Department is reminding residents to lock their vehicles at night following a series of recent car breaks around town.
Since July 9, there have been 18 reported break-ins and in each of those cases, the vehicle had been left unlocked, according to police. Items that were stolen include wallets, purses, pocketbooks, loose change and credit cards.
Police said six of the car breaks occurred Tuesday night in the area of Sharp Street, Schooner Drive, and Admiral Point Drive. Others over the past three weeks have been reported in the Commonwealth Avenue and Bliss Corner neighborhoods.
Investigators released surveillance images of a man suspected of breaking into multiple vehicles in the area of Cove Road. Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to call Dartmouth police at (508) 910-1735.
“These are all crimes of opportunity where this thief or thieves are going through neighborhoods pulling on door handles to see what is left unlocked and rifling through peoples’ vehicles and belongings,” Dartmouth Police Chief Brian Levesque said. “We are asking residents to be vigilant about locking their doors at night and also reporting any suspicious activity they may see in their neighborhoods.”
Dartmouth police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offered the following tips for parking and exiting your vehicle:
- Take your keys. Don’t leave them in your vehicle.
- Close all windows and lock all doors.
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle, and if you do, make sure they are out of sight.
- Never leave credit cards/debit cards, cash or your wallet or purse inside of your vehicle overnight.
- Park in well-lit areas or preferably inside a garage, if possible. Install lights with motion sensors near where you park your vehicle.
- Get in the routine of double-checking that your vehicle is locked and secure each night around 9 p.m. This is known as the 9 p.m. Routine.
If your vehicle has been broken into or stolen:
- Call 911 to report a vehicle theft or break-in. A copy of the police report and/or a case number will be needed to provide to your insurance company.
- You may be asked to provide the license plate number, make, model and color of the car, the VIN number and any identifying characteristics.
- Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen or broken into.
- If you find your vehicle before authorities, contact the police immediately and then your insurance company.