Local police provide tips to put car thieves out of business

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 31, 2018

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EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Roseville Police Chief James Berlin spoke with the Eastsider about recent stolen vehicles and larcenies in the area, and both Roseville and Eastpointe have provided tips for residents to keep thieves from breaking into and stealing vehicles. 

The Eastpointe Police Department made a statement on its Facebook page Jan. 20 about recent incidents.  

“Please lock your vehicles at night, as we have had a rash of larcenies and stolen vehicles in the past few days. This is mainly occurring at night and in the northeast part of the city. We have increased patrols. Also, please do not leave your vehicles running in the driveway or in parking lots, with the key in the ignition, as this allows someone to steal your vehicle very easily. Please remain vigilant! Remember, if you see something that is out of the ordinary, please don’t hesitate to say something. You can call (South East Regional Emergency Services Authority) (586) 777-6700 or 911 to notify us and report suspicious activity.”

Eastpointe Deputy Police Chief Eric Keiser could not be reached by press time. 

SERESA is a consolidated dispatch center for police and fire services in the cities of Eastpointe, Roseville and St. Clair Shores.

“We’re here to take their call and keep them safe and make sure they get the response they need as fast as we can get it to them,” said SERESA Executive Director Cherie Bartram.

She explained when residents should call 911. 

“An emergency would be an in-progress or just-occurred life or property crime. If they’re seeing something that’s occurring right then, or they’re afraid of something happening right then, those are the type of 911 calls that would be OK for them to call,” she said. “If they see something suspicious or it appears that someone is trying to break into a car, it’s OK for them to call us on 911.”

Less pressing matters should go to the non-emergency line instead of 911.

“If they have a question that’s not related to something they’ve seen at that moment, that’s the time to call us on the nonemergency line,” said Bartram. 

Berlin said residents must lock their cars, because thieves can steal the vehicle or things inside within seconds. 

“The biggest tip is, people must lock their car. A lot of these crimes are crimes of opportunity, and these guys and girls are walking down the residential streets tugging at door handles. They find a car that’s unlocked, they’ll wipe down the car to see what’s valuable inside the car that they can steal,” said Berlin.  

Berlin urged residents to not leave valuables inside their cars.

“Don’t leave your laptop, purse or whatever you might leave in the car. Take it inside with you. Sometimes it’s inconvenient, but it’s best,” he said.  

With the frigid temperatures this winter, many drivers like to warm up their cars before their commutes. Berlin said residents shouldn’t do this, especially if they warm up their cars with keys in the ignitions. 

“Don’t leave your car running unattended. You shouldn’t do it. It is an opportunity for thieves to steal your car. If you have an auto start, there’s safety measures in place so they can’t steal your car. It’s when you put your keys in the ignition, that’s when you have to be worried,” said Berlin. 

It used to be a crime in Michigan to have your car warming up with a key in the ignition, but Berlin said legislation has changed. 

“It used to be a rule that you couldn’t do that, but legislation has changed. It’s now legal to leave your car running unattended,” he said. 

For more information on SERESA, visit www.seresa.org or call (586) 777-6700.