One of the most commonly reported crimes our residents fall victim to here in Pickerington is theft; specifically, theft of items from their cars.
More often than not these are valuable items, such as stereos, purses and wallets containing credit cards, cameras, global positioning system units, iPods, laptop computers, etc.
Many times the vehicles are left unlocked, but if not -- and if valuables are in plain sight -- thieves have no problem breaking a window to get what they want.
These reported thefts happen during all hours of the day and night, but most occur between dusk and dawn.
Many times the cars are in the homeowner's driveway, parked in front of their house, or even an open garage.
A fair amount of them also occur in the parking lots of businesses during the evening hours when people are shopping, eating or working out and the lots are full.
Credit cards are often used at a nearby gas station or store within minutes of a theft.
We urge residents to never leave valuables in their cars.
However, if they must, we encourage residents to inscribe an identification name or number on the items and place them in the trunk.
It is time consuming, costly and frustrating to replace valuables or personal documents, and to dispute credit card charges.
It is also stressful to know that one's identity and credit has been compromised.
The Protect & Serve column was submitted by the communication technicians at the Pickerington Police Department.