MANSFIELD -- 'Tis the holiday season and sticky-fingered thieves are ready for an easy score ... from your car.
Mansfield Safety-Service Director Lori Cope said Monday the city experienced another rash of weekend break-ins to vehicles in multiple locations.
"As it’s getting closer to the holidays, be extra cautious of leaving anything at all in your vehicle," Cope said.
"We find if criminals look in your vehicle windows and see nothing on your seats or floor, they will move on. This is a crime of opportunity. Do not give them any opportunity," Cope said.
This past weekend, vehicle break-ins were were reported on Lind Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Crescent Road, Chevy Chase, Marion Avenue Road and Park Avenue West.
A few days prior, the hot spots were on North Mulberry Street, North Illinois Avenue, Sycamore Street, Dyas Drive and Forest Drive, according to Cope.
Cope encouraged residents who see any suspicious behavior to call police at 419-522-1234.
Cope said most "smash and grabs" are a product of thieves taking advantage of an opportunity because they see something in a car they want. A theft can occur in just five to 10 seconds.
Reduce thefts by never leaving items on seats, dashboard, or on the floor. These items include purses, laptops or laptop bags, briefcases and backpacks, electronic devices, and even loose change.
"Take the extra second to bring any valuables inside and please contact the police if you notice anything suspicious in your neighborhood," Cope said.
Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim:
-- Remove all visible items from your vehicle.
-- Lock your vehicle and take your keys. Lock the trunk, hatchback, or tailgate to block access into the car. Close all windows, vents, and sunroofs.
-- At home, park in your garage if you have one. Lock your car and all garage doors. When you park outside, park in a well-lit area. Check to see that your vehicle is visible from pedestrian and vehicular traffic. After parking, take a moment to look around your car and assess your surroundings for vulnerabilities.
-- Install an alarm. Many people believe that alarms no longer make a difference, however, they do remain an effective deterrent.
-- Install motion sensors or photocell lights on the exterior of your garage if you park in your driveway or on the street. Motion sensors will trigger the light to come on when it senses activity in the immediate area. Photocell lights automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn.