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Our View: Precautions can prevent car theft

Winchester Police have recently been investigating a rash of car thefts in the community.

Police charged three juveniles with stealing a trio of cars during the weekend, and are investigating a string of car thefts in Winchester.

Some of the vehicles have been taken from local car sale lots and others have been stolen from individuals.

All of the cars have been recovered and several people, including three juveniles, have been charged with the thefts.

Winchester Police offered some simple advice for residents: “don’t leave their vehicle running regardless of how long you will be away from your vehicle.”

The department has worked about nine car theft cases in the past month. In each case, Winchester Police said the keys were inside the vehicle or were readily available for the perpetrator in some other way.

Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to car thieves:

— Lock your doors. Even if you believe you live in a safe neighborhood or there are not valuables in your vehicle, always lock your doors. Lock your doors whether you will be away for a minute, an hour or overnight.

— Never leave your keys in the vehicle.

— Keep track of your spare keys. Never hide a spare key on or near a vehicle.

— Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.

— Don’t leave valuables in your car, especially in a location where passersby can see them.

— Park your vehicle in a well-lit area. Also, parking near building entrances and near known security cameras can also deter thieves.

— Use an anti-theft device. Many insurance companies offer discounts for customers with these devices. Thieves are looking for easy targets, so vehicles with anti-theft devices often deter criminals.

— Consider purchasing auto tracking technology that will pinpoint GPS coordinates for police if your vehicle is ever stolen.

These tips might seem simple, but it is easy to become complacent in our routines.

Many of us often things “that can’t/won’t happen to me,” but anyone can be the victim of auto theft.

Taking some easy precautionary steps can reduce your chances of falling victim.