With the possible exception of a mutual battery report between the town drunks, there are few things more aggravating than having to make a vehicle burglary report on our own patrol cars.

Laptops. Unsecured shotguns. Secondary weapons. Documents containing personal information. 

These are just some of the items that have been stolen from patrol vehicles across this country.

Take home vehicles are particularly vulnerable. Unlike field deployments in which your return to the car is less predictable, people may become familiar with your comings and goings when you park your patrol car at home.

But even during the course of your work shift, the things you have in your car are up for grabs.
Consider this: If you work in an area where you routinely arrest citizens for shoplifting at the local Wal-Mart, you probably leave your car unoccupied for long stretches of time. Because of this, unless you’re routinely required to access the stuff in your car throughout the course of your shift, it’s best to secure it in the trunk. 

Trunks aren’t burglar proof, but they’re more difficult to get into than a car window and less transparent so the bad guys can’t window shop and get tempted to break in and take your goodies.

Don’t sell temptation short. Mark Twain knew what he was talking about when he said that God should’ve put a taboo on the serpent: Adam and Eve would’ve eaten the damned thing and saved subsequent generations all manner of misery. Temptation is a strong urge for some people, and it easily overcomes their common sense. 

For most people there are inherent deterrents to the prospect of breaking into a patrol car. But others might find the prospect of breaking into your car intriguing. And if bragging rights aren’t inducement enough, consider the booty that’s available in your car:

• Personal items

•Police badges and identification

• Weapons and gear, including a variety of long guns, ballistic vests, night vision optics, etc.

If you’re ever away from your patrol car and find yourself inordinately concerned about the articles therein, then that hunch is telling you to take some corrective or preventative measures. Often, it comes down to simply not leaving anything in your car that you don’t have to, especially overnight.

Leaving your stuff in your car is effectively leaving it up for grabs.
 

Author

Dean Scoville
Dean Scoville

Dean Scoville

Former associate editor of Police Magazine and a retired patrol supervisor and investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Dean Scoville has received multiple awards for government service.

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Former associate editor of Police Magazine and a retired patrol supervisor and investigator with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, Sgt. Dean Scoville has received multiple awards for government service.

View Bio
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