Are you an easy target for car prowlers?

The Lynnwood Police Crime Prevention Unit, with help from the Volunteers in Public Safety (VIPS), surveyed parked vehicles Oct. 28-29 at Edmonds Community College as part of its Car Prowl Prevention Campaign.

Of the 270 cars surveyed, half were deemed “easy targets” for thieves.

A majority of the vehicles had charger cords plugged into outlets. Although cords themselves are not a draw, the things they attach to are and may attract a thief’s attention, said Lisa Wellington, crime prevention specialist with the Lynnwood Police Department. “If the car is unlocked, the thief would surely take it.”

“We also noticed purses, lots of loose change, skateboards, open windows, unlocked cars, GPS units, Ipods, cellphones, expensive looking boots (and) clothing, personal ID … and lots of food,” she said.

Tips for making your car a less attractive target for thieves:

  • Keep all doors, windows and sun roofs shut and locked.
  • Install an alarm system or a vehicle tracking system.
  • Consider using a steering wheel locking device.
  • Have a locking fuel cap.
  • Don’t leave any valuables in the vehicle.
  • Take your keys out of the vehicle.
  • Never leave a vehicle running unattended.
  • Don’t leave your garage door opener in view.
  • All items with personal information on them should be taken out of the vehicle.
  • Park in well-lit areas and avoid isolated places.

Items most often targeted by thieves include loose change, purses, back packs, wallets, briefcases, mail and legal documents, laptops, personal electronics, cellphones, CDs, sunglasses, car audio and video equipment, retail purchases, clothing, golf bags and other sporting gear, medicines, garage door openers, GPS units and tools.

Lynnwood Police staff and volunteers left small notices on vehicles during their recent survey that educated the owners about the project and let them know whether or not their vehicle was a “harder target” or an “easy target” for car prowlers.

The survey was done at the college’s request. Similar surveys are available for other large parking lots by request. To learn more, contact Wellington at 425-670-5635 or

Have a question? Email us at Please include your name and city of residence. Look for updates on our Street Smarts blog.

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