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With uptick in car burglaries, here's how to avoid being a victim

Posted at 12:16 PM, Sep 29, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Police in several Utah law enforcement agencies are seeing an uptick in vehicle burglaries.

There has been a 50 percent jump in Salt Lake City over the past few weeks.

Investigators aren’t sure what’s behind the increase in car prowls

“It seems to be a trend throughout this year, probably has something to do with Covid,” said Det. Michael Ruff with the Salt Lake City Police Department. “Not exactly sure what’s driving it but we‘re definitely seeing a big increase in car burglaries.“

What they do know is that car burglaries are crimes of opportunity and almost always preventable.

Detectives say little things will make a big difference in preventing these crimes, because most thieves are looking for the easiest way possible to make a quick score.

They urge people to take a few extra seconds to look around their vehicle, remove or hide anything that might be in plain sight so they don’t make themselves a target.

“It doesn’t matter, it can be the smallest amount of change, it can be a couple dollar bills, people that are breaking into cars are looking for anything they can get, electronics, cash,” Det. Ruff said. “They‘re willing to take that 10 second risk, that’s all it takes for them to break a window and look through your car.”

Unified Police, South Salt Lake Police and agencies in Davis County are also seeing a recent rise in car burglaries.

As the weather cools down, more people are leaving their cars running in their driveway or in front of their home or apartment to warm up. Police strongly advise against that, saying the exhaust plume is what many thieves look for and an idling car is simply too inviting of a target.

“Don’t leave your car in the driveway with your garage door opener in it or your keys to your other car because that just makes it easy for them and that’s a gold mine,” Det. Ruff said. “Don’t leave your car running, don’t leave your keys in your car, it’s bad enough when something gets stolen out of your car, it’s even worse when your car gets stolen.”