Beach police launch campaign to decrease thefts from cars

Virginia Beach police launched a new campaign in March of 2017 that is aimed at bringing down the number of thefts from vehicles in the city. Credit: WAVY-TV 10 Photo

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach police have launched a new campaign aimed at bringing down the number of thefts from vehicles in the city.

According to police, there were 3,500 thefts from vehicles in Virginia Beach last year.

Walking door to door, Virginia Beach police “explorers” and Girl Scouts spent Saturday, March 11, handing out yellow tags. The tags are meant to remind people to lock their doors and remove any valuable items from their cars.

Melissa Johnston with the Virginia Beach Police Department said, “People will remember to kind of slide it on the dash, and see that big, bright yellow thing sitting in the car and go ‘Oh my gosh. Let me take my laptop out of the car, let me get my iPod out of the car.”

Police say they started the program because of the growing rate of thefts from cars across the city.

In Ashville Park — where the volunteers were on Saturday — residents saw 11 larcenies from cars and two car thefts in 2016. All of the targeted cars were left unlocked.

“A lot of vehicles are only gone through if they are left unlocked,” Johnston said.

Some of the items stolen from those cars include a gun, money, electronics and credit cards. Volunteers with the Girl Scouts Saturday said they’ve partnered with the officers before, and know car thefts are causing major problems.

Angela Sandelier, Girl Scout Troop 174 leader, said, “It’s so prevalent in the city. If you could hear the statistics.”

Police say they’re planning to use Ashville Park as a pilot neighborhood to see if the tags are effective. They hope to expand from there.