Lock it or lose it.
The slogan has been used by the Warrensburg Police Department for a recent social media campaign urging residents to lock their car doors. The campaign originated after thefts from unlocked vehicles became a problem off campus.
According to Warrensburg Police Chief Rich Lockhart, 50 incidents of items stolen from vehicles have been reported to the Warrensburg Police Department involving 54 cars since September. Of those, 43 cars were unlocked, seven unknown and four reported to have been locked but showed no signs of forced entry. Lockhart said one purse was stolen containing a key, which the thief used to steal the vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered in Kansas City, Missouri.
Lockhart said the “Lock it or lose it” social media campaign was developed by their social media manager, who Lockhart asked to remain anonymous, in an effort to raise awareness. The campaign began in mid-September following a streak of car break-ins.
Lockhart said the response from the community has mostly been positive.
“People enjoy it,” Lockhart said. “They get a kick out of it. We’ve done some funny things with Mr. Spock and creating some funny memes. It’s about engaging your community and letting them know they can be the first line in preventing crime.”
Lockhart said the campaign has played a part in reducing the number of cases involving stolen items from vehicles.
On campus, thefts from vehicles have happened less frequently than in the community. Bill Brinkley, assistant director of administrative services at UCM Department of Public Safety, said there have only been 12 cases of items being taken from vehicles, with only four of those cars being reported as unlocked since August.
“Overall, our students do a great job of locking their doors,” Brinkley said. “And we regularly patrol the lots on campus.”
Lockhart and Brinkley both suggest not leaving valuable items inside your car. If you need to, however, it is suggested that you leave the item in a locked compartment such as a lockable glove compartment or the trunk. To prevent theft of items from a pickup truck bed, Lockhart suggested purchasing a lockable toolbox or Tonneau cover. New license plate fasteners can be purchased to combat theft of license plates by requiring a special tool for removal.
“If we can encourage people to be smart on their part and do something simple like locking their car, we can prevent crimes from happening,” Lockhart said.