Photo by Large Dave

It's happened to me in Waterbury, twice. That awful feeling when you leave your residence, and find that your vehicle is missing or broken into. You experience a rush of feeling violated, of loss, it's terrible. Your mind starts to race - What was in there? When the hell did this happen? My neighbor didn't hear anything?

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I learned in the early 90's that it wasn't the 1950's in Waterbury anymore. My trust for my neighbors was shattered for awhile, but, then I realized that the two incidents that I had suffered through were ultimately my fault. You've seen enough episodes of Cops, Live PD, and the local tv news by now to realize that crime erupts out of opportunity, and, for me anyway, I should have listened to my parents who always told us to lock our cars, even though it was safely parked in the shadow of my bedroom.

Connecticut has seen a surge in stolen vehicles. Just this past week, a vehicle was stolen at gunpoint in Hamden, and two vehicles were stolen out of a driveway in New Canaan. My hometown of Waterbury seems to be in the midst of a legit crisis.

The Waterbury Police Department issued a stern warning on their social media page over the weekend, reminding residents in Waterbury to 'LOCK YOUR VEHICLES and DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KEYS INSIDE THE VEHICLE.' The statement goes on explain why they were issuing this warning: During the week of October 17 - October 23, 2021, 17 vehicles were reported stolen in Waterbury, and in 14 of the 17 cases, the keys had been left inside the vehicle.

The Waterbury PD also included a map of the city in their statement, showing the locations of the reported thefts, and most of them occurred in the immediate downtown area, with 5 reported stolen across the East End, 1 in the South End, and 1 in Bunker Hill, near Oakville.

So use common sense, take a second before you get out of your vehicle to check and see if ANYTHING of value is in plain sight. Electronics, spare change, that bag of presents for your Nephew's birthday party? Take them inside. I don't believe that a thief is going to break your window for a sippy cup either, but stranger things have happened. Make sure your phone charger cord is in plain sight, and not connected to your device. Are your recyclable shopping bags in the back? Make sure they're flat and folded. If there's nothing to see, they'll hopefully keep moving.

Never leave your keys in your vehicle. Never leave your vehicle running while you pop into a store, or a friend's place, or anywhere. Predators are everywhere, waiting for that moment that you don't pay attention to your surroundings. Even if you do, they're great at going unnoticed until it's too late.

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