North Shore Communities Urge Vigilance in Preventing Theft
Vehicle burglaries and vehicle thefts increase across northern Illinois
November 23, 2020 – The Cities of Highland Park, Highwood, Lake Forest, and the Village of Deerfield strongly urge residents to take precautions to prevent vehicle burglaries and vehicle thefts following a wave of incidents in these communities and regionally. Instances of theft and burglary to parked vehicles have increased significantly during late summer and early fall. Highland Park, Highwood, Lake Forest, and Deerfield have logged 94 instances of stolen vehicles during 2020, a nearly 130% increase over 2019, and 175 instances of theft or burglary to vehicles, an increase of over 70% from 2019. The vast majority of vehicle burglaries and thefts occurred because car doors were left unlocked or keys/key fobs were left in or near the vehicle. Proximity to well-traveled highways is also associated with increased vehicular crimes.
These instances follow a disturbing trend, typically involving criminals visiting communities at night. They look through windows for valuables that may have been left in visible spaces in unlocked cars, especially garage door openers. Criminals can then use this access to steal the vehicle or gain entry to the garage, which may lead to residential burglaries. Unfortunately, these stolen vehicles have often been used to commit other crimes and have put the driving public at risk when trying to avoid detection or apprehension.
There are steps residents can take to partner with local law enforcement to prevent these crimes and to deter criminals who are targeting neighborhoods, particularly those where they may have previously been successful.
Police urge residents to follow the following simple steps, known as the “9 PM Routine.” to help prevent vehicle burglaries and thefts:
- Keep all valuables out of sight, especially garage door openers.
- Lock all doors and close all windows and sun roofs, even if parking in your garage. Ensure garage doors are closed.
- Never leave keys or key fobs in your car.
Residents are reminded that vehicle burglaries and thefts can occur at any time of day, even in public places. The 9 PM Routine precautions can help deter daytime crimes as well. Drivers are also reminded to remove keys and lock vehicles while refueling, not to leave vehicles running unattended, and to immediately call for help and report crimes.
Residents should report any suspicious activity immediately to the police by calling 911. Suspicious activity or behavior may include vehicles driving slowly and aimlessly, especially at night with lights off, and individuals loitering around parked cars and peering into windows.
For all other questions or concerns, each municipality maintains a 24-hour non-emergency public safety line:
City of Highland Park: 847.432.7730
City of Highwood: 847.604.8992
City of Lake Forest: 847.234.2601
Village of Deerfield: 847.945.8636
In an emergency, always dial 911.
Public safety information for the City of Highland Park is available at cityhpil.com.
Public safety information for the City of Highwood is available at cityofhighwood.com.
Public safety information for the City of Lake Forest is available at cityoflakeforest.com.
Public safety information for the Village of Deerfield is available at deerfield.il.us.