Automobile thefts on the rise, police say | Chowchilla News

Chowchilla has had a higher-than-normal number of vehicle thefts in the city in the past few months, police say. The number of vehicle thefts in December were more than double the number reported in December 2014.

Vehicle thefts are on the rise throughout the Valley, police say, and some are committed by people from outside the area. There have been two local residents arrested for stealing vehicles within the city limits.

Police also have recovered stolen vehicles in the city that were stolen from other areas. Often stolen vehicles are stripped for parts or abandoned.

Chowchilla Police Chief Dave Riviere encourages residents to following some guidelines that could prevent the theft of a vehicle.

With cold weather, people often start their cars early to warm them up. Riviere said never leave your car running unattended or leave your keys in the ignition, even for just a minute.

When parking, always roll up the windows and lock the car, even if it is parked in front of your home.

Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put valuable items in the trunk or at least out of sight.

Remove portable electronic devices, such as smartphones and GPS navigation systems. Even leaving the windshield-mounted bracket for an electronic device on the glass can entice thieves to break in and look for the device.

Riviere noted it was always best to park in busy, well-lighted areas.

“Carry the registration and insurance card with you,” Riviere said. “Don’t leave personal identification documents or credit cards in your vehicle.”

Riviere also suggested when you pay to park in a lot or garage, leave just the ignition or valet key with the attendant. Make sure no personal information is attached. Do the same when you take your car for repairs.

Some additional ideas include installing a mechanical locking device – commonly called a club, collar, or J-bar – that locks the steering wheel, column or brake to prevent the vehicle from being driven.

Investigate security systems if you live in a high-theft area or drive an automobile that’s an attractive target for thieves. You may get a discount on your insurance.

Riviere reminded residents to contact police if they see anyone suspicious in their neighborhoods.

t_2olyCL.jpg?v=21 Chowchilla News Day
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