Authorities are warning the public about a recently identified uptick in auto thefts and break-ins in East Hawaiʻi.
According to Hawaiʻi police, this appears to be a crime of opportunity where would-be thieves are breaking into or stealing vehicles that have windows down, the doors are unlocked or valuables are left out in plain sight.
“Oftentimes in the reported incidents, police have found that the vehicle keys were left in the vehicle ignition or in the vehicle console,” HPD officials stated.
During the holiday season wherever people gather can become potential hot spots for criminal activity, according to Capt. Scott Amaral patrol commander in Puna.
“Don’t be an easy target” Amaral said. “Be a hard target for crime, it’s doing the simple stuff, like, lock your vehicle, even at home, hide valuables in the vehicle out of sight, or better yet don’t leave them in the vehicle. Be aware of your surroundings, and look out for each other, if you see something, say something”.
Police also advise the following:
- Park only in well-lit areas.
- Don’t ever leave your car running, and unattended.
- Always keep your keys with you and never leave them in the vehicle.
- Activate/install audible vehicle alarms.
- Never leave valuables in a vehicle.
- Always lock your vehicle doors.
- Never leave a hidden spare key with the vehicle.
- At home, never leave spare keys out in the open.
Police will be increasing patrols, and forming special units in an effort to combat and apprehend offenders in vehicle thefts.
The Hawai‘i Police Department’s Community Policing Teams can assist public members wanting to increase their ability to fight back against becoming a victim of crime. They can be contacted at 961-2350 in East Hawaii and 326-4646, ext. 259 in West Hawai‘i.
HPD also reminds the public to be observant, report suspicious activity by calling the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311, or in an emergency 911.
Police are also soliciting from the public any information relative to vehicle thefts. Public members with information can call the non-emergency number or Crime Stoppers, where confidential tipsters can remain anonymous.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.