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Sheriff’s Office provides tips on keeping vehicles and valuables safe while enjoying the outdoors



“Leave no trace” is a popular concept among those who enjoy the great outdoors. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office reminds hikers and other park users that “leave no trace” is also good advice for the vehicle left behind.

Vehicle burglaries at parks and trailheads tend to rise as usage increases during the summer months. The Sheriff’s Office wants to combat that trend through increased community awareness and by offering some useful tips to help keep valuables safe while enjoying the great outdoors.

“One of our most common vehicle burglary trends still involve vehicles left unlocked,” Washoe County Sheriff’s Detective John Cryer said. “Other burglaries are the result of valuable being left in plain sight on seats or on the floor, making an easy target for criminals.”

Detective Cryer also advised against trying to hide purses, wallets or other valuables on site after parking a vehicle.

“If potential thieves are watching the parking lot, which is always a possibility, they’ll know that something valuable is in the vehicle and exactly where it is hidden,” he said.

Criminals look for targets of opportunity so one of the most important steps outdoor enthusiasts can take to protect themselves is make sure to lock the doors and “leave no trace.” That means leaving nothing of value, or any visible trace of valuables, in the car when out enjoying the outdoors. Bring an appropriate sized back pack to carry essential belongings and leave non-essential valuables at home.

Based on criminal activity trends, vehicle burglary prevention tips for park and trail users include:

  • Lock the door when leaving the car. Still one of the most common issues with vehicle burglaries
  • Don’t leave valuables in the car. If valuables must be left in a vehicle, be sure to lock them in the trunk or glove compartment not under jackets or blankets behind the seat as that is one of the first places criminals look
  • If you need to leave valuables items in a vehicle, place them out of sight before reaching your destination
  • Leave no trace. Don’t leave any sign that there might be valuables hidden in a vehicle by leaving items such as docking stations or connector cables visible. Leave nothing in plain sight that might make the vehicle a target for thieves, not even loose coins or a CD.
  • Be sure to set the car alarm or anti-theft devices. These are still effective deterrents against criminals who are looking for the easiest target
  • Keep windows completely closed. Partially open windows may make your vehicle an easier target for thieves

Anyone who is a victim of a vehicle burglary, or observes suspicious activity, is urged to contact the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrates 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 24th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process and traditional street patrols.

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