Off the Blotter is an opportunity for the Lexington Police Department to share what is happening here in Lexington and in your neighborhood. This column was provided by Police Chief Mark Corr.
When you enter a restaurant, lobby or locker room you will often see a sign that says, ‘We are NOT responsible for the loss or damage to your personal property.”
It is a polite way of saying, “Protect yourself.” Parking lots, restaurants, sports clubs and other commercial properties have been the target of professional thieves for years.
The Lexington Police and regional police agencies have routinely identified individuals who specialize in this type of crime. One important lesson we have learned – the thefts are so lucrative that the same thieves will come back time after time while teaching their skills to others.
The typical professional has been arrested numerous times. He or she can quickly identify an undercover officer, security system or bait vehicle. They are experts at opening locks and will brazenly smash and grab property visible in a motor vehicle. They can do this in seconds making it very difficult to catch them in act.
How can you protect yourself?
In the parking lot, do not leave laptops, brief cases or other valuables visible in your car.
Do not exit your car upon arriving and demonstrate to anyone watching that you are securing your valuables in the trunk. The thieves will smash a window, force open the car truck or come looking to steal your car keys.
In the locker room, do not leave your wallet, purse or keys in a locker. Most commonly used locks can be opened with a sliver of tin in less than five seconds. Small locks can be simply cut off. Many lockers are also of inferior quality and can be jimmied open quickly.
As an employee or member, question management to insure they use proper protocols to screen visitors and temporary members. Security equipment should be an important investment for the company. Quality video systems, capable of filming day and low light conditions, should be readily available to serve as a deterrent to thieves.
If you are a victim, report the crime immediately! You should have a list of credit card numbers secured and readily available to you at home or work to assist police. Better still; find ways to keep your wallet, credit cards and keys with you.