Preventing citizens from becoming crime victims is the goal of a new community awareness program, “Lock It or Lose It,” which has been adopted by the O’Fallon Police Department.
Captain Jim Cavins said they want to remind people that if they lock their vehicles – and doors and garages – they won’t be targets for crime.
“It is the first step of minimizing the chance of becoming a crime victim,” he said.
That’s why police officers have placed “Lock It or Lose It” yard signs randomly in residential and business areas throughout the city.
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At the same time multiple cases of quickly committed thefts from unlocked cars were happening in O’Fallon, Cavins said he was on a personal vacation and saw signs in a northern town promoting “Lock It or Lose It,’ so he brought the idea home with him.
It couldn’t have been timelier, and the department started the campaign at the end of September.
The items taken ranged from spare change to wallets, personal/business documents, electronics, and firearms, Cavins said.
Police Chief Eric Van Hook was on board right way for the campaign.
“Nobody’s immune to the crime. All we’re doing is educating the public,” he said.
“The vast number of burglaries are crimes of opportunity when a vehicle’s unlocked. It’s a reminder to people to not have their purse, small electronics and cell phone in plain view, so they can open a door and take it,” Van Hook said.
“In most, if not all instances, this type of crime can be prevented by simply locking car doors, assuring all the windows are completely shut, removing all valuable items, keeping change and charging cords out of sight,” Cavins said.
Cavins said people should never leave keys inside their vehicles.
Van Hook pointed out that through someone’s garage door opener, thieves can gain access into the home.
“They can gain information from your glove compartment – vehicle registration, insurance cards, financial information – they will look for these things,” Van Hook said.
Cavins said this program supports the mission of the O’Fallon Police Department’s dedication to the community by proactively solving problems and protecting life and property through education and prevention.
“I don’t want to jinx us, but we’ve gotten positive feedback,” Cavins said. “We had good comments from many individuals on our Facebook page.”
For more information about the “Lock It or Lose It” program, please contact Captain James Cavins, 618-624-9539.
“We always say if you see something, say something. If you think something isn’t quite right, call.”