The Eufaula Police Department is asking all residents to please make sure to lock your car doors.

A Facebook post from the department on Wednesday, June 10, warned residents that there have been several vehicle thefts in Eufaula recently, with three occurring the night of June 9.

“Almost every one of these vehicles were left unsecured with the keys inside the vehicle,” the post read. It was also noted that several of the vehicles had firearms inside the vehicle when they were stolen.

Some advice from the EPD to make sure your vehicle is safe is, “Please lock your vehicles and take the keys completely out of the vehicle every time you leave it unattended, regardless of the length of time you will be away from it. Remove all of your valuables from your vehicle, including firearms. Be a conscientious firearms owner and never leave a firearm unsecured inside a vehicle.”

“While we take every opportunity to be proactive in thwarting thefts, we cannot independently prevent these crimes, and we urge the public to assist us and take responsibility for their property,” EPD Chief Steve Watkins commented. “The recent vehicle thefts are crimes of opportunity where it appears an individual or a small group is going from vehicle to vehicle attempting to open the vehicle’s doors. There is no need for them to force entry into the vehicles as they are attaining great success by simply trying door handles.

“Most of the vehicle thefts are aided by the keys being left in an unlocked vehicle. The majority of the thefts occur at night where the subjects can avoid detection. We emphasize the importance of always locking your vehicle and removing the keys from the interior. Modern cars with key proximity push start features are vulnerable as well as most people leave the key fobs in the car.

“If your vehicle is unsecured, all anyone has to do is depress the brake and push a button. It is important to remove the source key for ignition from the car, but again, denying access is the most important. We cannot stress enough to lock the vehicle and remove the key, it is that simple.

“We also implore citizens to be responsible firearm owners and secure their weapons at all times. We have received multiple stolen firearm reports where people cannot say when the last time they knew their firearm was in their vehicle, sometimes over a period of months. A firearm left in a vehicle is useless as a home defense weapon as there is no access to it in an emergency,” said Watkins. “We simply ask that people take responsibility of owning a firearm seriously and not allow these weapons to end up on the street due to carelessness. If a weapon must be left in a vehicle, please place it in the trunk or a locked box and secure the vehicle any time it is unattended.

“Due to the walking nature of the individuals committing the thefts, home surveillance footage can be valuable in possible timing, direction and identification of suspects. We hope people with home security cameras will consider registering their name and address with the Department. If a crime occurs in a given neighborhood, we can search our database of registered cameras, contact the homeowner and ask them to review their footage of a given time period. This can be most helpful in missing person cases and thefts. Home security cameras may be registered with the Department by visiting eufaulaalabama.com and clicking the ‘CIVIES’ logo. Registration is free and non-intrusive.”

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