When you are out playing softball, shooting hoops, enjoying the beach or otherwise enjoying the city’s parks, you don’t want to be carrying your valuables. Planning ahead before arriving at your destination will prevent you from becoming a victim and from opportunistic thieves spoiling your day.
THEFT FROM VEHICLE
One of the most common types of theft is valuables stolen from your car. This type of theft is strictly a crime of opportunity that can be prevented. Thieves generally won’t waste their time breaking into cars that don’t have valuables in plain sight. Please take the precautions listed below to help ensure your car is not targeted by thieves:
- Keep your valuables out of sight—the best way to prevent theft from your car is to always keep valuables out of sight. Never leave purses, briefcases, gym bags, or electronic devices (cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, etc.) in your car in plain view or on the floor of the car. Placing a jacket or blanket over these items rarely fools a thief. Take these items with you, or secure them, every time.
- Secure your GPS device or stereo faceplate — those who use a portable GPS device or have a removable stereo faceplate should take it with them, along with any other items of value, when the car is parked.
- Use your trunk — if you must leave items in your car, put the items in the trunk or in a locked glove compartment before you arrive at your destination.
- Lock it up — Keep your car doors and windows locked.
CELL PHONE THEFT AND ROBBERY
Cell phone theft is a problem in Minneapolis as well as the rest of the nation. Typically the thief will steal an unattended phone or grab the phone from the users hand and run. The stolen phones are then sold on the black market. A cell phone’s resale value can range from $100 – $300. Here are some hints to keep in mind:
- Using your phone in public makes you much more vulnerable to being robbed or assaulted. Pay attention to what’s going on around you and who is near you. Do not let a stranger use your phone.
- Keep your phone in your pocket, bag or in a phone pouch, not in your hand where someone can quickly grab it from you. Never set it down and leave it unattended.
- If you are confronted, COOPERATE! Give the criminal what he/she asks for — wallet, keys, jewelry, credit cards and electronics. Your life is more valuable than replaceable possessions. Don’t make sudden moves or try to apprehend the criminal yourself. Concentrate on remembering a description of the suspect and call police immediately.
AT THE BEACH
Criminals know that patrons will either leave valuables such as wallets or purses inside their vehicles or wrapped up in towels. When visiting the beach, it is a good idea to only bring what is necessary in a small bag (small amount of cash, water bottle, identification, sunscreen, etc.).
ON THE FIELD, BASKETBALL COURT, OR IN THE GYM
Leaving personal belongings or backpacks unattended on the sidelines while you play can leave you vulnerable to theft. If possible, leave your valuables at home, in a park locker or have a close friend hold on to it while you play.
SECURE YOUR BICYCLES
Bicycles are a great choice for fun and transportation, but there are some basic safety precautions you should take. Any time you leave your bike unattended; make sure it is locked to a secure structure. Use a quality lock that cannot be easily broken. Most bikes are stolen while left unlocked. If you’re not riding it, LOCK IT UP!
For more information or questions about crime prevention while using our local parks, visit the Minneapolis Park Police or MPRB website at www.minneapolisparks.org