MINNEAPOLIS - Residents in a handful of Minneapolis neighborhoods are keeping a close eye on their vehicles after a rash of break-ins over the past few weeks.
Crime prevention specialists say between December 1, 2012 and January 9 of this year there have been 33 reported cases of theft from auto in the Phillips area.
Of the break-ins, 60 percent of them were to steal GPS (Global Positioning System) devices. GPS theft is one of the fastest rising crimes in the United States.
Police say opportunistic crooks will break into a car or truck when they spot the faint mark of the suction cup used to position a GPS system on the dashboard or windshield. After breaking in they will tear through the vehicle looking under seats and inside consoles to find the GPS.
In most cases the cost of repairing damage to the vehicle surpasses the cost of the stolen GPS unit.
Crime specialists offer these reminders to keep thieves at bay.
- Keep your windshields and dashes clean. Even taking the extra precaution of removing the GPS device's cradle might still not be enough to stop a break-in into your car. The suction cups used to secure the GPS unit's cradle to the car's dashboard or windshield can leave a ring of film on the glass. Keep moist towelettes in the car to wipe away any ring of film from the GPS cradle suction cup.
- Hide or remove the power cord or any other accessories.
- If you are looking at buying a GPS device, first take a look at your smart phone. There are smartphone GPS applications that could be an alternative to a traditional device for your car. Most people wouldn't think of leaving their phone in the car unattended.
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