By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Lock it or Lose it campaign is already showing results in its second year, decreasing vehicle larcenies by 22 percent from 2015.
During a press conference June 3 at the Dearborn Police Department, 16099 Michigan Ave., Police Chief Ronald Haddad explained the campaign’s progress.
“The tighter we get, the less of these unlocked vehicle break-ins we’ll have,” he said. “These types of programs have been proven to be successful when awareness is used as a preventive tool.”
The summer months see an increase in thefts from vehicles. The “Lock It or Lose It” billboards and advertisements on local media and social media will share the campaign’s message with the Dearborn area through Labor Day.
The campaign was launched in May 2015 to decrease thefts from vehicles during the summer and beyond by reminding residents to simply lock their cars.
The city experiences an average of nearly 700 larcenies from vehicles per year. Of those, almost 75 percent of those thefts were from unlocked cars.
“Our membership recognizes the importance of the collaborative efforts that we have with the Dearborn Police department,” Dearborn Federation of Neighborhood Association President and Dearborn Public Schools Trustee Mary Petlichkoff said. “We are working hard to remind all our neighbors that it is incumbent on them to take that personal responsibility to secure their property.”
The initiative is sponsored by many local businesses, including Walmart, Jack Demmer Lincoln Mercury, AAA, Westborn Chrysler, Jorgensen Ford, LaFontaine Automotive Group, Kenwal Steel, Royal Truck and Trailer Repair, and PrintXPress.
“When we were approached with this, I thought at first, “Is this a problem?’” AAA of Michigan Strive 4 A Safer Drive Program Manager Gary Bubar said. “In Wayne County there was 6,750 reported larcenies from vehicle in 2014 and 25,850 clearance rate of 1,000 arrests.”
Haddad, corporate sponsors, elected officials, local business representatives and community group members showcased the crime prevention initiative aimed at reducing the number of larcenies from motor vehicles that occur.
“We appreciate this program and services for the safety of the community,” Islamic House of Wisdom Imam Mohammad Elahi said. “Working together is the best way to stop these crimes and protect our residents.”
Other communities have seen a decrease in thefts after teaching their residents about the increased chance of theft from unlocked cars.
The program promotes easy tips for Dearborn residents to follow to make sure items are not stolen from their cars.
Those tips include, not leaving valuables in an unattended vehicle, locking materials in the trunk of the car or out of clear view and always lock unattended vehicles.
Residents can call the police non-emergency tip line at 313-943-3030 to report any suspicious activity.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)