Motor vehicle theft jumped from 21 occurrences to 37, or 76 percent, from 2015 to 2016 and that trend is not slowing down in 2017, according to crime report statistics recently released by the South Sioux City Police Department.
Even though 33 of the 37 vehicles stolen in 2016 were returned to their owners according to Chief Ed Mahon, a significant number of the instances were avoidable.
“With better key security, we can remove almost half the thefts,” Mahon said.
With cold weather approaching, people are more likely to leave keys in vehicles with the engines running, a practice that Lieutenant Doug Adams doesn't recommend.
“These guys are preying on the fact that keys are left in vehicles,” said Adams. “It's a crime of opportunity.”
He noted that there have even been instances where a car has been stolen when the owner ran into a convenience store for a cup of coffee.
“It only takes a minute,” he said.
He also recommended that people be aware of the activity in their friend and family circle. Seven of the 37 cars stolen in 2016 were taken by someone known to the owner.
Investigator Joaquin Orduno suggested that all vehicle owners know their vehicles' plate numbers and keep recent overall vehicle photos and photos of any unique features such as damage or stickers to help police with identification in the case of theft.