SPD unlocks secret to keeping your car safe - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

SPD unlocks secret to keeping your car safe

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Car thefts are on the rise but there could be a really easy reason why. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, one in ten cars is left unlocked.

"The most common door that I see unlocked is the driver's door," said Officer Shane Phillips with the Spokane Police Department.

On Thursday, Officer Phillips demonstrated with KHQ just how common it is for car prowlers to break into your car. Too often, Spokane police officers take reports that people's valuables were stolen from their car because it was in plain sight or their car doors were unlocked.

Phillips pulled on dozens of car doors in a North Spokane parking lot and found two were unlocked with valuables inside. It didn't take very long either. "On the second attempt, that took us about six seconds," said Phillips. People leave iPads and computers in sight at times. Even showing multiple power chords in a car can lead a thief to believe you have valuables stored somewhere inside your car.

Don't think for a second that papers sitting in your car are OK either. Leaving behind doctor or school information in the backseat can attract any crook at first glance. "We got immunization stuff on the passenger's seat which is going to have their date of birth, full name, home address," said Phillips. Just that information alone, can lead to other crimes like identity theft.

According to the city's crime database, 300 vehicles have been ransacked since the start of January. The most common hours? Wednesday or Thursday afternoon between noon and 3 p.m. A good hotspot seems to be Division and Francis.

Officer Phillips told KHQ another problem they are dealing with is the fact that people are leaving their spare key behind in the car. They throw it in the center console and it then becomes an auto theft.

After our experiment with SPD, it's safe to say, don't keep anything valuable in your car.

If you'd like to take a look at your neighborhood map and what auto crimes are happening there, click here.

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