NP police: Most vehicle thefts this fall have been preventable

NP police: Most vehicle thefts this fall have been preventable

Number of incidents way up compared to 2019

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Of the 13 vehicles North Providence has seen stolen within its borders since Sept. 1, eight of them were considered preventable incidents, say local police.

In five of those cases, said Chief of Police Arthur Martins, pictured, keys were left in the car, while in another three cases, vehicles were left running and unattended, including by residents running into a store or warming up their vehicles in their driveways in the morning.

Investigating such incidents remains a difficult task for police, who are asking residents to help the cause by taking common sense precautions.

“In addition to warning residents about leaving their cars running, either in the morning or to briefly enter a store, we want to emphasize the importance of not leaving the key or key fob in the vehicle,” said Martins. “It makes it easy for a thief to commit the crime and the owner is without transportation.”

By employing those simple preventative tactics, said Martins, “we can lessen criminal opportunity, reduce property damage, decrease victimization and improve public safety.”

Residents and visitors can prevent these “crimes of opportunity” by eliminating the opportunity, say police. Simply trusting that a car can be left on but unoccupied is an invitation for a potential thief to take advantage of an innocent person, said Martins.

“With the cooperation of our residents we can make our town safer and help reduce criminal activity,” he said. “In addition, the victim will not have to be without their vehicle because it was stolen.”

Incidents of stolen vehicles are way up compared to this same time last year. Four cars were stolen between Sept. 2 and Dec. 27 of last year, with three of those clustered a week or so before Christmas, Dec. 18-19.

Many people assume their cars won’t run for long with key fobs in use, but older key fobs won’t cut the engine, noted Martins a year ago. With those older fobs, the only way a thief would be prevented from continuing to drive is if they happened to turn off the car before arriving at their destination.