MADISON, Wis. – Thefts from vehicles and open garages are on the rise in Madison and officers are being proactive to try to prevent these crimes, Madison police said.
Madison police West District Lt. Mike Hanson said these thefts are a citywide issue and not just limited to what people may think of as “bad neighborhoods.”
“These incidents, where people are entering cars, have no boundaries,” Hanson said. “It’s not happening in rich or poor neighborhoods. It’s happening everywhere.”
Police said the majority of thefts come when people leave their car doors unlocked. Sometimes, Hanson said, people are leaving spare key fobs inside the cars, which lead to the cars themselves getting stolen.
“Please do not keep your keys in your car because the bigger element to this is that cars are being stolen as well,” Hanson said. “(They’re being) joy rided through the night and then dumped elsewhere–damaged.”
Hanson said in the West District, guns are often being stolen from unlocked vehicles, potentially exacerbating the area’s gun violence problem.
“It’s frustrating,” Hanson said.
Hanson said officers, especially on the night shift, are patrolling neighborhoods and when they have time, are giving out pink “report cards” to residents telling them what they’ve done right or wrong when it comes to preventing theft.
“They’re giving a checklist of things that were either visible, that the door was or wasn’t locked, and they’re leaving that for the owner,” Hanson said “(It’s) just as a reminder that they did a great job or this is how they can improve.”
Police have been giving out these report cards for a few years now, Hanson said.
Officers are encouraging people to lock their doors and leave valuables out of plain sight. Hanson urged the public to call 911 right away to report a theft and not to wait to report them later.