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Ask A Cop: How can car break-ins be prevented?

TREAT(A Lake Oswego police officer answers readers’ questions each week in this space. To submit a question, call staff reporter Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

"My neighbor’s car just got broken into. Does the police department have any tips that I could follow to keep this from happening to me?"

There are several things you can do to try and reduce the chances that someone will break into your car.

First, don't leave anything of value inside the vehicle that can be seen through the windows. If a thief walks by your car and does not see anything valuable inside, he will tend to move on and not risk getting caught. This includes phones, phone accessories, laptops, purses, GPS devices, sunglasses or other items easily taken from a vehicle.

Second, do not leave anything in your vehicle that could contain valuables. We have had several thefts from autos where bags, briefcases or small suitcases were taken. Even if the bags don’t have anything in them other than clothes or paperwork, thieves will take them from your vehicle for the chance they contain something valuable.

Third, lock your car. The latest string of car break-ins all involved unlocked cars.

Finally, work with your neighbors to keep an eye out for suspicious people in your neighborhood or apartment complex. You would be surprised how many people wake up to sounds and don’t call us until later in the day, after the theft has occurred. Not everyone wakes up at the same time, and if you or your neighbor report suspicious activity, it helps us prevent thefts or catch people breaking into your car or your neighbor’s car.

— Lt. Doug Treat