HELENA – The Lewis and Clark Sheriff’s department are encouraging everyone to lock their vehicles when not using them to prevent break-ins and theft.
According to law enforcement since May 1st, 2018 there have been 30 vehicles thefts and 60 thefts from vehicles.
Sheriff Leo Dutton told MTN that if a vehicle is left outside of a secured area like a garage it can be a prime target for criminals.
“What I ask all my bosses to do is please don’t leave the keys in the vehicle,” said Dutton, “Unfortunately, we have that kind of activity here, so please take your keys out, roll up your windows, lock it. Sometimes small things will deter a thief and have them move on to the next one.”
Residents should also keep their vehicles locked when out on trail heads or camping.
“If you are out recreating, you can leave the window down, just a little bit, if you are concerned about the heat, but lock it up,” said Dutton, “But please don’t leave your pets in the vehicle unattended, even on a cool day.”
If valuables like a phone, wallet or gun are left within eyesight, a criminal is more likely to break your window to try and get to those items.
Sheriff Dutton also recommends people to keep their coolers within sight over the holiday weekend to dissuade individuals who are underage from trying to steal alcohol.
The Sheriff’s department has also been getting reports of stolen fishing gear and boat motors from boats.
“Just remember that if you’re out recreating in a public area with others around, the chances those things may be stolen rise dramatically,” said Dutton.
If a person suspects that crime may be occurring, they should always inform local law enforcement as soon as possible.