KPD e-News Release: Citizens Urged to Take Basic Preventative Measures Due to Surge in Motor Vehicle Thefts and Auto Burglaries

Kingsport Police Department

Dale Phipps, Chief of Police

200 Shelby Street • Kingsport, TN 37660

http://KingsportTN.gov/City-Services/Police-Departmentwww.KingsportPDBlog.com

NEWS RELEASE
SUBJECT: Citizens Urged to Take Basic Preventative Measures Due to Surge in Motor Vehicle Thefts and Auto Burglaries
DATE: October 21, 2021
CASE #: Multiple
GENERAL NARRATIVE
The City of Kingsport has been experiencing a surge in the crime of Motor Vehicle Theft. Having said that, it is important to note that in the vast majority of Motor Vehicle Thefts, the vehicle that was stolen had been left unlocked with the key (or electronic key fob) left in the vehicle (often times with the key actually in the ignition and the vehicle running).

Auto Burglaries are also on the rise. Again, it is important to note that in the vast majority of Auto Burglaries, the vehicle had either been left unlocked, or the owner had left an item of obvious real or perceived value in plain sight inside the vehicle.

To reiterate, very few cars that are being stolen or burglarized are actually being forcibly broken into. In nearly all of the cases, had the owner of the vehicle taken a few basic preventative measures, the crimes could have easily been deterred.

This particular problem is by no means unique to Kingsport. When sharing criminal intelligence information with other agencies, feedback indicates that similar trends are being experienced in other jurisdictions.

K.P.D. has prioritized investigating and preventing these types of crimes, but we are asking for some additional help from the public. To that end, the good news is that the occurrence of these two crimes can easily be lessened or even prevented altogether by utilizing the following common sense strategies:

1) Never leave your vehicle unlocked while unattended.

Your vehicle was designed with locking doors for a very good reason. It should be locked at all times. A vehicle is obviously much less likely to be burglarized or stolen if it is locked.

You should lock your vehicle even when you are in close proximity to it while pumping gas, or at a self-service car wash, and especially when you leave it even briefly for a quick trip into a store. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

You should even lock your doors while you are in the vehicle while parked or in motion. Tests have shown that a locked door is much less likely to pop open during a crash, and a locked door will certainly lessen the possibility of someone with ill intentions opening your door from the outside while you are in the vehicle.

2) Never leave the key (or electronic key fob) inside your parked and unoccupied vehicle.

Leaving the key (or electronic key fob) inside your parked and unoccupied vehicle (even if it is locked) is asking for trouble. It allows undeterred access to the vehicle by criminals. It also allows curious children to potentially get behind the wheel, which could obviously lead to tragic results.

3) Never leave your car key (or electronic key fob) in an unsecure location.

Even if your key is not actually inside the vehicle, it is important to make sure that it is stored securely and cannot be easily accessed by unauthorized individuals.

4) Never leave your vehicle running unless you are actually in it.

The only thing worse than leaving your key in your vehicle is leaving the key in the ignition with the engine running. Again, it allows undeterred access to the vehicle by criminals, and it also allows curious children to potentially get behind the wheel, which could obviously lead to tragic results.

With colder weather approaching, it is important to point out that it is not uncommon for vehicles to be stolen while left running, unlocked, and unoccupied while they are defrosting in the morning.

5) Never leave items of real or perceived value in plain sight inside your vehicle.

Other than leaving your vehicle unlocked, the best way to get it broken into is to leave something valuable inside of it. Purses, backpacks, duffle/tote bags, electronics, cell phones, portable GPS devices, radar detectors, medications, firearms, money, shopping bags and packages, etc. should never be left inside your vehicle, especially not in plain view.

And remember, it doesn’t even have to be valuable to you as long as it appears potentially valuable to a criminal peeking into a window.

Following these simple steps will go a long way toward deterring these crimes in our city, and reducing your chances of becoming the next victim of Motor Vehicle Theft or Auto Burglary.

RELEASING OFFICER
Thomas M. Patton, Public Information Officer

Kingsport Police Department Professional Standards Unit

423-229-9433 (Desk) • 423-224-2786 (FAX)

ThomasMPatton

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