The Renton Police Department has provided advice to residents regarding protecting vehicles from prowling and theft, including a heat map showing locations of all motor vehicle theft incidents in 2023 as of March 15.
The Renton Police Department advises residents to take preventative measures to avoid vehicle prowlers including:
Shut vehicle windows and lock vehicles every time after exiting.
Remove valuables (backpacks, wallets, boxes, garage entrance remotes and keys) when leaving vehicles unattended.
Keep unused chargers and accessories in the glove compartment and center console.
Hide items from visual access. Cover items with blanketsand store items in the trunk.
The department also recommends residents park in secured parking spaces like garages and well-lit areas; stay vigilant when exiting and entering a vehicle; avoid parking in limited visibility areas and near obstructions; and to set alarms when leaving a vehicle.
The department listed signs of a potential vehicle prowler to watch out for including a person looking into the windows of multiple vehicles, testing and pulling on door handles, walking past vehicles slowly multiple times in a short period of time, and loading items from a vehicle into a backpack or onto a secondary transport like a bicycle.
Additionally, the Renton Police Department noted an increase of motor vehicle thefts at apartment complexes.
“This would be due to ‘inventory’ access,” said public information officer Sandra Havlik in an email. “Think of it this way, any criminal driving through apartments looking for these types of thefts will have more success having a surplus of cars at one location, rather than driving through neighborhoods hoping to catch one or two, here and there.”
The Renton Police Department has attempted to spread awareness about motor vehicle thefts through social media campaigns and handouts in an attempt to mitigate motor vehicle theft rates.
“No crystal ball here,” Havlik said in the email.
According to the department’s crime analyst, police recover approximately 82% of stolen vehicles, with an average recovery time of four days. The Renton Police Department will also recovery stolen vehicles for outside agencies and vice versa. They have recovered 173 vehicles from outside cities as of March 15.