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Stafford sheriff encourages residents to lock their cars
Conservative estimates show that locally, there are at least twice as many thefts from cars as reported; nationally, that increases to five times as many, Graham said.
But all the minor thefts add up. Three thieves working together and targeting 10 cars each in a few hours can bring in more than $2,000, Jett said.
"That's much more profit than an armed robbery at a convenience store," Jett said.
The likely suspects are young adults, some who come from outside the region to go "shopping," as the crime has been named.
The "Take it, Hide it, Lock it or Lose it" campaign will be advertised in the same ways as previously, including with posters, message boards and newsletters.
The Sheriff's Office also will use its bait car heavily to deter thefts. The unidentified car, which was obtained from a drug seizure, is decked out with all the bells and whistles of a bait car. Sometimes it'll be locked and sometimes it'll have valuables in it. But once someone tries to open it up, they'll be stopped.
"It's a challenge to the community that it's not just mom and pop's car--it's ours, too," Jett said.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975
The Stafford Sheriff's Office also hopes to increase reporting by citizens through the Take It, Hide It, Lock It or Lose It campaign--by making that simple to do.
A self-reporting system was developed for a website that enables a victim of a theft (valued at less than $200) to report it online.
At staffordsheriff.com, look for "Report an Incident" under Quick Links on the homepage.