Commissioners in Upper Moreland, Pa. are considering a proposal to people to lock their car doors – or have police lock up for them, reports The Intelligencer on phillyburbs.com. Three-quarters or more of each year’s reported thefts from cars are from those left unlocked, said police chief Thomas Nestel. The thieves are often teenagers with drug addictions looking for something easy to steal and sell, Nestel said – and they often come back to the neighborhoods where they’ve been successful before. When left sitting in unlocked cars, valuables such as iPods and GPS units become criminal bait, he said.
Under the proposal, police would do spot checks of neighborhoods having a problem with thefts from unlocked cars. A warning note would be left inside and the door would be locked. If that same car was found unlocked again within the next year, its owner would face a citation with a $25 fine. Nestel said the ordinance is meant to prevent crime, not punish people or fatten the township coffers. Commissioner Lisa Romaniello said she couldn’t support the ordinance, in part because she couldn’t justify spending police time and tax dollars on checking car doors.