SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah Police Department is warning of a rash of car break-ins and thefts and says in quite a few cases, people are making it easy for thieves.
“Almost 90 percent of the auto thefts and entering autos that we are having, the people are just leaving their doors unlocked,” said Officer Wayna Hendrix, a resource officer for the Savannah Police Department Eastside Precinct.
Police are promoting a new program called the “9 p.m. Routine” to remind all Savannahians to check their cars when it gets dark.
Residents are reminded to lock their doors and remove valuables. Those with a garage are urged to make sure it’s locked.
Hendrix says on the street, potential thieves often walk down a line of cars just to see if one is open. If one is, they’ll pick the easiest target. He says thieves are tempted if they see valuables like a cell phone or a laptop in the car, so in addition to locking your door, it’s wise to remove items.
Police also warn that people do leave weapons in their vehicles and if the vehicle is stolen that it is often used in crimes.
Hendrix says not to be complacent if you live in a relatively safe neighborhood.
“Your community may be nice, but that doesn’t mean the people committing these crimes are from your community,” said Hendrix.
Police are urging people to get into the habit of checking their vehicles around the 9 p.m. timeframe.
They also plan to push the campaign on social media, hoping people will get the message.
“So, if we start making it a habit of everyone seeing #9PMROUTINE or #9PMSAVANNAHPD, they know that they’ve secured their valuables so when someone else sees that on social media they’ll say okay let me go secure my things,” Hendrix said.
The officer says you may not think you could ever be a target for a car theft, but unfortunately, he talks to people every day who thought the same thing before their car was stolen.
Police also point out that if your vehicle is stolen, you may lose not only the car. If your wallet or phone is inside, you may lose valuable identity information.