With thefts on the rise, officers share tricks to shield your vehicles

RICHMOND, Va. — Police throughout the Commonwealth are seeing a spike in automotive thefts.

Officers from Virginia State Police, Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield and neighboring counties got here collectively Tuesday morning to share their issues, urging folks to maintain their keys available and their vehicles locked when away from their automobile.

Within the first three months of this 12 months, auto thefts in Richmond have been up 54% in comparison with the earlier 12 months.

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“An enormous a part of the summer time spike, we consider is so people can depart their air con on, they depart their vehicles working, they assume it’s simply going to be a couple of minutes. They arrive again, and it’s gone,” stated Main Rick Edwards with Richmond Police.

In response to Edwards, 442 vehicles have been stolen this 12 months up to now, in comparison with 738 whole in 2021.

In Henrico, 266 automotive thefts have been reported this 12 months up to now, up from a complete of 194 final 12 months.

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“That is probably the most auto thefts we’ve seen, during the last 5 years in Henrico County,” stated Henrico Police Chief Eric English.

Usually, officers defined, stolen automobiles are used to commit different crimes like robberies, burglaries, and homicides.

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At Tuesday’s press convention, Chesterfield Police displayed a white Mercedes the division recovered.

In November of 2021, the automotive was stolen after which purposefully pushed right into a retailer, ensuing within the theft of a number of firearms. An investigation into the incident remains to be ongoing.

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“The car that was car jacked, this car, was actually stolen from someone who had stolen this car. This car was stolen twice,” said Chesterfield County Chief Jeffery Katz.

Major Edwards said in many cases, drivers will leave firearms in their vehicles, something officers said is contributing to a rise in gun violence in the area.

“We had a citizen leave his car parked, unlocked with the windows down and running,” Major Edwards said. “He went into a convenience market. Within seconds, the thief saw that car and stole it. Days later, that same car was used by four gunmen to drive to an apartment complex in south Richmond. All four of these men based on video evidence got out of the car, unloading their weapons, shooting dozens of times at a group of other individuals. You could imagine how you would feel if your car were to be used like that in a crime like that, of violence.”

Main Edwards stated the easiest way to forestall automotive theft is to maintain keys available, lock doorways and switch the automotive off if it is not in use.

“About 99% of our vehicles once they’re recovered, every thing’s intact, and the one factor that was used to steal the automotive was the automotive’s personal key,” Main Edwards stated. “Individuals assume that in the event that they depart the automotive working however they take the fob with them, that the automotive can’t be pushed off and that’s simply not true. Many vehicles, if it’s left working, hey can nonetheless drive it, now they’re not going to have the ability to restart it, however so long as they drive it, they’ve a free automotive till the gasoline runs out.”

In response to Virginia State Police, 11,470 vehicles have been stolen in 2021. Catalytic converters thefts are up 100%. By way of VSP’s Assist Get rid of Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.) program, drivers can get their automobile’s VIN quantity etched into the glass of their automobile at no cost.

VSP additionally encourages drivers to put in an immobilizer or monitoring system.

“I can solely think about strolling out and seeing your automobile gone. It’s an emergency scenario for you, the driving force of that automobile. The truth that it’s taking place in so many counties throughout the commonwealth is an emergency for us, regulation enforcement,” stated VSP Colonel Gary Settle.

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