During the four-week period ending on May 31, thieves broke into 62 cars in the 2nd Police District.
On second thought, they didn’t actually break into that many cars. Because, in well over half of those cases, the victims had left their doors unlocked.
With the negligence factor in mind, police Capt. Thomas McLean hopes that some simple public education, not to mention common sense, will make a major dent in one of his district’s most chronic problems.
The 2nd is one of four police districts in the Northeast. Its boundaries include Rhawn Street, Roosevelt Boulevard, the Tacony Creek and the city’s border with Montgomery County.
Many of the “thefts from autos” occurred when the crooks forced their way into parked, unattended vehicles. Sometimes, they had to break a window. Other times, they picked the lock or somehow pried open the door. In a few cases, the thefts involved stripping a car of mechanical parts, such as the battery. But in 38 separate instances, all the thieves had to do was pull on the door handle to gain access to the interior.
According to McLean, the 2nd district commander, the highest concentration of crimes occurred in the district’s Police Service Area (PSA) 3, which essentially covers the territory from Tyson Avenue north to Rhawn. The Cottman Avenue business corridor and adjoining residential blocks were particularly troublesome.
McLean’s message is pretty basic.
“Number one, lock your doors at all times,” the captain said. “Park in a well-lit area, remove your valuables from plain view and make sure the alarm is engaged. And call 911 if you see suspicious activity.”
It’s that simple. ••