Police urge shoppers to lock car doors, hide bags to avoid falling victim to theft

Shoppers are shopping and thieves are trying to get their hands on your bags.

The Kennewick Police Department said it’s simply a crime of opportunity. Officers are urging shoppers to lock their car doors and hid their bags in their trunk. If they don’t have one, cover them up.

“We may see an increase in smashed windows if there’s a lot of valuables in the car that they can see,” said Lt. Aaron Clem. “It’s risk versus reward. It’s more risky for them to break out a window, but if they can steal several things that are valuable, it might be worth it to them to do that.”

Clem said thieves will go around retail areas and check car doors. Most of the time, they steal from cars that have unlocked doors. Some criminals won’t walk around. Instead, they’ll look from a distance.

“They are in the area putting themselves in a situation where there’s a high likelihood there’s going to be — they’re going to find valuables in the car, and then they’re just going through checking door handles and looking for valuables in cars,” Clem explained. “There may be a rare occasion where somebody is sitting in a car, watching to see somebody carry out a bunch of stuff.”

Clem said the easiest way to avoid falling victim is to theft is going home and dropping off your bags at home. While it might be inconvenient, it’ll protect your recently purchased items.

Volunteers with the police department will be doing extra holiday patrols around the retail areas of the city. They’ll be watching for people prowling around cars. If they see someone, they won’t confront them. Instead, they’ll call police.

If you see anything suspicious, call non-emergency dispatch at (509) 628-0333.