DARIEN, Conn. — In the wake of a months-long spree of car thefts and break-ins, the Darien Police Department is issuing tips for residents to follow to avoid falling victim to thieves.
For the past few months, towns in Fairfield County have experienced a substantial increase in the number of both motor vehicle burglaries and stolen motor vehicles, Detective James Palmieri said.
The Darien Police Department has employed various tactics such as unmarked patrols, “bait” cars, and other investigative methods in an attempt to deter and apprehend the people responsible, he said.
"While we are doing everything we can to impact the recent increase in incidents, we want to take the opportunity to give the residents of Darien some guidelines on keeping their vehicles and valuables safe," he said.
- Always lock their vehicles. The vast majority of the motor vehicle burglaries are of vehicles that were left unlocked. Often the suspects will pass over another vehicle in the same driveway because it was locked.
- Take valuables into the house with you. Once someone enters your vehicle to take the visible items, they will rummage through the rest of your car. Hiding things isn’t always an effective plan.
- Be aware of "proximity-keys." Many newer vehicles have keys that allow the vehicle to be unlocked or started by proximity. Do not store these keys in your vehicle. Be aware of secondary keys and valet keys that will also allow the vehicle to be unlocked and started.
Valet keys are sometimes found in the glove compartment or with the vehicle’s user manual. When storing your proximity key, keep in mind whether the vehicle is parked close enough to that storage area that it could be started. For example, storing a valet key in your garage and parking the vehicle up against the garage door may be a short enough distance for the key to allow entry and the ignition to be activated.
In numerous instances, a proximity key was hidden inside a vehicle and the suspect was able to start the car, Palmieri said. All it takes to check if the key is in range is to put your foot on the break and push the “start” button.
"It is important to remember that the individuals stealing these vehicles are doing so for a number of reasons, some of which include committing serious crimes," he said.
"Making Darien less of a target rich environment will go a long way in reducing the number of motor vehicle burglaries and thefts, therefore reducing the number people coming into town to commit crimes."
Anyone with concerns, questions, or information, should contact the Darien Police Department at 203.662.5330.
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