Citizens Association of Georgetown: July 12, 2017

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Police warn residents not to leave valuables visible in their parked cars. (Brady Holt/The Current/May 2012)

While surviving the notoriously muggy weather of D.C. summers, I have often caught myself running errands as fast as possible, often only thinking about my next opportunity to duck into an air-conditioned boutique. I would be so focused on getting a reprieve from the heat that I would leave my car unlocked and my most recent purchases lying on the passenger seat. This bad habit has landed me in a few unfortunate situations, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some summer safety tips that I have found helpful over the years.

Every time I leave my vehicle, even for a quick errand, I now make sure to hide my most recent and valued purchases from plain view. You can do this easily and inconspicuously by tucking them under the car seats or covering them with a blanket. As many minor car thefts are crimes of opportunity, this will prevent people from being able to quickly see and take your possessions. If you are worried about your car being stolen, I have found the most effective preventative method is to use a “Club.” This device locks your steering wheel and sends a strong visual message that your car is not a good target.

The most effective way for you to help keep our community safe is being aware of both your surroundings and those of your fellow shoppers. If you see a neighbor leave their car without properly securing their belongings, I would encourage you to share one of these preventative methods.

And of course, if a crime is in progress or a person is exhibiting dangerous behavior, do not hesitate to call 911 and explain the situation immediately.

— Jacob Schmidt