Doni’s Cautionary Tale No. 1: Car Break-in

A couple of weeks ago, when the police officer stood near my car – the one with shattered glass where the the passenger-side window used to be – I felt like a total idiot when he asked if anything was missing from my car after the break-in.

Me: Yes. My purse.

Officer Kimpley: Your purse? (He looks up.) Where was it?

Me: Uh … on the passenger seat. But the car was locked … and it was dark …

Officer: (Looks down and continues writing.) Uh huh.

The crime occurred while I was at the 5:45 a.m. Jazzercise class, which, as my neighbor joked, was part of the problem right there.

Behold, my first cautionary tale. I have a million of them, not so much because I’ve lived that long, but because I have experienced a lot. Many of my cautionary tales have a similar theme: Many of my troubles were preventable, or, at the very least, survivable, whether it’s having my purse stolen from my locked car, or making poached eggs in the microwave, or being blindsided by an exploding marriage, or navigating the murky waters of online dating.

Today we’re talking about my car break-in. Actually, it wasn’t so much a car break-in as a car window break-in. Note the photo, above. See the bits of remaining glass that jut from the window frame like a tooth busted off at the gum line. See the dented dashboard. Feel my anguish.

I take responsibility for my seriously flawed thinking. For starters, I thought a locked car was a secure car. Also, I must be more sheltered than I’d thought, because I’d never known anyone whose car window had been smashed with a piece of cinder block or whatever the hell the rock substance was that was lying on my front seat after class. Well, I’ve now heard from dozens of people whose vehicle windows have been shattered outside movie theaters, parks, homes, hotels, colleges – lots of places – by criminals who’ve then rummaged around and stolen stereo systems, loose change in ash trays, wallets, packages, and yes, purses left in plain sight, which, to a thief, is as good as an engraved note that says you are cordially invited to come rip me off royal because I’m a total idiot.

As an aside, suddenly, I notice many vehicles around the North State with cardboard or plastic taped over windowless openings. I know exactly what that’s about: Jerks broke the windows, but the victims lacked the money to replace them. Car insurance? Very funny. I don’t know about you, but my deductible is $500, which means that a $200 to $300 window won’t be covered. In this economy, many people are one broken window away from financial disaster.

Back to my flawed thinking. I assumed that because it was dark outside, nobody would see the purse (in my locked car – and this is the last time I’ll mention my car was locked). I now guess the thief probably had some expensive 2-jillion-candle-power flashlight that he ripped off from someone else.

The third flaw in my thinking was based upon a lifetime of a reckless habit of leaving my purse in my car when it was inconvenient to take it with me, whether to work out, or to walk the river trail. Sometimes, such as at the river trail, I’d actually get out of my car with my purse, then walk to the back of my car – doe-dee-doe – and lift the hatch to “hide” it in the back of the car (Priuses lack trunks).

According the RPD officer who wrote my report, some thieves actually lurk around places like parking lots where they can pay attention to whether women leave their cars with or without a purse.  Granted, it’s a creepy feeling to consider someone’s watching you for that reason, but it’s even more creepy to be so oblivious that you return to your vehicle to find  your window shattered and glass everywhere, even in Austin’s car seat, and in my yogurt cup with my spoon still in it and I do believe I will never get all those tiny bits of glass out of the car.

My main point is that, much like the lead-footed person who’s routinely driven fast her whole life but never received a speeding ticket, at some point bad habits will catch up with you. Eventually, luck runs out. Always.

My luck sprinted out. Some cretin smashed my window, grabbed my purse and took off with it. The window cost $202 to replace, but the very worst part of all was losing my purse, which basically contained my whole world – dangling by a leather shoulder strap. Inside my purse were personal and business check books and business and personal credit cards and debit cards, my drivers license, library card, prescription computer glasses, my first-ever prescription sunglasses, reporter notebooks, make-up (including a lip color my sister gave me that I really loved that I will never find again), personal photos of my kids that I’ve carried around for decades, and all kinds of things I am still remembering. Oh, and I lost $60 cash, which was probably all that the thief was really after.

Of course, I looked in all the dumpsters around the Cypress Square Shopping Center (a location where many of those good businesses, because of their proximity to homeless encampments and shelters and parks, suffer many break-ins). I didn’t find my purse.

Thank goodness that morning I was in such a rush that I forgot to grab my cell phone, or it would have been impossible for me to call banks and credit card companies to alert them of my disaster. By the way, the moment you make those calls, and your accounts are closed or frozen, suddenly, you have no access to your money. After that, you have no identification when you go to the bank to withdraw cash to pay for the window and other things, like Extra Strength Excedrin and red wine.

Times like these a passport comes in handy. (A husband would come in handy at these times, too. I held myself together pretty well that morning until one of my fellow Jazzercisers said, “Do you want to use my phone to call your husband?” When I said I didn’t have a husband and started crying, one of women took pity on me and offered to give me her husband. I love my Jazzersisters.)

So, here’s something else I learned. Take your wallet, empty it of all your credit cards, membership cards (Oh crap! My Costco card!), even your drivers license. Photocopy the fronts and backs and put those copies in a file. Why? Well, for one thing, once your credit card is stolen, you don’t even know the numbers because account numbers and credit card numbers aren’t necessarily the same, and most financial and credit institutions aren’t keen about disclosing that information over the phone. Also, if your wallet is stolen, and you’re struck with sudden-onset Alzeheimer’s when the officer asks you to recite your wallet contents, you’ll have access to that information. Don’t just read this and nod. Go photocopy your wallet contents right now. I’ll wait.

The final lesson I learned is pretty embarrassing: If your car has an alarm … Arm It Every Time You Park. Let me pause here and admit that in the five years I’ve owned my car, I didn’t know it had an alarm, until my son asked if my car alarm had sounded when the jerk broke my car window.

Cue crickets. Behold dazed expression.

This car alarm part is important. See, even the most stupid thief is smart enough not to victimize a vehicle that has a little red alarm light flashing on the dashboard.  I’ve learned that by pressing the button on my key fob three times, my car alarm is activated. All this time I’ve just pressed it once to lock the car.

I’ve learned so much from this experience, and now, I’m passing it onto you. You’re welcome. Happy to help.

In return, I have a favor to ask of you: If you find a big tan purse with a long dark brown strap and a short handle strap, could you please get it to me? With any luck it will still have my glasses, photos and lipstick inside. And maybe a couple of Excedrin.

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

 

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

50 Responses

  1. rmv says:

    Glad you didn't take the Lady Jazzersister's offer, sounds like

    he might not have been much help either, (if she would give

    him up that easy)? 🙂 🙂 lol

    It is sad that some have evolved to a life of crime! 🙁

    Thank you GOVERNMENT, LACK OF, OR NO PARENTING,

    DRUGS, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, ect., ect.! 🙁

    I could go on and on but i will spare you readers, I WAS BORN

    in a different time zone, "1940"! THANK GOD!

    GOD BLESS YOU DONNI, and thank you for sharing. 🙂

    GOD BLESS AMERICA (and her children)! 🙂

    • Rita Simpson says:

      Doni, So sorry about your break-in. I am copying everything in my purse asap. I also am impressed that you go to a 5:45 Jazzercise class!

      • Good for you for heeding my advice. I hope you never need to use that information, but if you do, you'll be ready. (And don't be too impressed with my attendance at that early class … I rarely get my act together enough to make it that early. Luckily they offer enough different times that I have no excuses to not attend. )

  2. Chris Bennor says:

    Ouch! Hate these types of "learning experiences."

  3. michelle Nicolls says:

    Sorry about your purse. I have never been robbed but I will surely take your advice. But, let me brighten your day…and give you some faith in humanity. Twice, not once, but twice, I forgot my purse in grocery carts. Both times in unlikely places to even dare to think it might be returned in it's entirety. Once in the Dollar Tree parking lot and in an even more dicey location… in the Winco parking lot on a sleeting Saturday afternoon in December just before Christmas! I dared not think I could be so lucky twice. I was. Nothing gone either time. I learned my lesson and gave thanks for honest people.

  4. EasternShastaCounty says:

    I gave up carrying a purse long ago. I have my wallet, phone, a hankie, and a lip balm in my pockets. If I need more — like when I attend a meeting — I have my briefcase in hand.

    I'm so, so sorry this happened to you. My sister and I were on the Central Coast visiting relatives, and I realized my wallet wasn't in my pocket. We retraced our steps — it just HAD to be in the restaurant but wasn't — so we went back to the grocery store parking lot, and there it was on the ground, untampered with. I had parked way out in the parking lot so we could have a bit of a walk; otherwise, I'm sure it would have be found — and gone. I felt so lost during the hour or so it was gone. As you said, my whole like was in it.

  5. LovestoEat says:

    Doni,

    Very sorry to hear of your experience here. I have a fear of losing my purse too and have decided your tip of copying important credit card numbers and photo id picture is the first thing I will do today once I get out of my warm 'jammies. The burglar better watch out because karma will reward him/her eventually.

    • Well, yes, and speaking of payback, Jazzercisers are more alert than ever as we work out where we can keep watch out the windows for ne'er-do-wells snooping around our parked cars for purses (which they won't find, because no Jazzerciser will leave a purse in a car after my experience).

      Oh, pity the unfortunate criminal confronted by a group of fit, strong ticked-off women who've just warmed up with round-house kicks and closed-fisted punches.

      • rmv says:

        But, wouldn't it be fun to leave a "EMPTY" Old purse in a car with the windows down, and let the KICKS, AND PUNCHES rain down on that attempted theft?? 🙂 LOL

  6. Charlie says:

    Same thing happened to us at the Bechelli River park. Gone for a thirty minute walk, back to a broken window. I guess somebody came along and the thief bolted because nothing of value was taken this time. But broad daylight, public area. Seems like Redding is becoming a feeding ground for petty crime.

    • I almost said you were lucky that nothing was taken, but if you'd been REALLY lucky nobody would have broken your car window in the first place, right?

      But you are correct about the increase in petty crime. One officer I spoke with said that criminals are being released from our Shasta County Jail nearly as fast as they are booked. It must feel so frustrating to be an officer who investigates and arrests someone for a crime, and then sees that criminal back on the streets in a couple of days.

      The scary part for the rest of us is that the criminals have less and less incentive to behave … so they can be bolder and badder and more brazen and up the ante on their crimes. If they get away with it, then they win (and we lose). If they get caught, then they're in jail for a few days and are released, fed, rested, maybe a little wiser, and back to their old ways. We lose again. What's the solution?

      Readers?

  7. Jeff Avery says:

    Doni, so sorry this happened to you. Thought I'd mention a couple of things.

    First, with the dent in the dashboard, I'd be surprised if the damage was less than $500 when the cost of the window and cleanup is counted.

    Next, I want to share with your readers not to leave their valuables or keys in their cars when they park in their garages. Thieves can and will break into garages through side doors and even main garage doors. Not a fun conversation with the police telling them your keys were left in the vehicle. Also not fun having to rekey home, office, and other vehicles.

    Unfortunately, the longer the high unemployment exists in our area, the more these types of crimes will increase. By taking proper precautions, being vigilant, and looking out for neighbors and others we can all help to combat this problem as a community.

    • I sure appreciate your professional advice, Jeff. Thank you. Good point about the garage, too. (During my Pink House remodel someone broke in through the side garage door and stole thousands of dollars' worth of the contractors' tools. The police officer said the garage is a frequent, easy place to break into homes.)

      Thanks for sharing. Feel free to pass along information any time.

  8. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Doni . . . . been there, done that. the stolen purse bit, not the broken window. Doesn't matter. Your personal life has been violated. The first time I went to Europe with a tour, the tour company suggested that we Xerox everything front and back. Stood me in good stead in Paris when my purse was taken in a restaurant . . . from under my chair . . . WITH ME SITTING IN IT! talk about feeling like a doofas!!! but having the info available to me certainly helped expedite things.

    Next piece of cautionary warning. Make sure what you've Xeroxed is current. Mine is not. better stop by a copy shop TODAY!

    P/S. Now when I put my purse on the floor under my chair I make sure the strap is around my ankle.

  9. Insanity Prevails says:

    So, Sorry Doni,

    I was a "victim" as well recently. I used to leave a few things in my car at night like my business checkbook, portfolio of business cards and miscellaneous papers addresses and etcetera and my sunglasses because I do not usually need these things in the house at night. I never leave anything in my car anymore as this is the second time this has happened to me. A week after my father died, whom I had been taking care of in my home, the vile beast struck. Parked in my driveway just outside my kitchen window with a motion detector security light and locked car did not stop them. The items can be replaced but the process is horendous. They can't use the checks but the records I've lost have caused me a lot of work not to mention the closing and reopening of new accounts. These poor fools are risking serious jail time for what? A $50 pair of sunglasses? I blame the economy and the decline of morals in our country and the lack of decent education which leads these obviously drugged or drunk persons to wreak havok on people whose lives they don't respect or understand. There was a time I never locked the doors on my house, but those days are long gone.

    Open note to anyone who would steal: If you ask the people you are planning to steal from for help they would probably be very happy to help you through your crisis.

  10. This is a wake-up call for me. Each week when I go to the Farmer's Market I leave my purse on the floor of the passenger side. That won't be happening in the future. It also seems like a good time to donate to A News Cafe since Doni is out at least $262 from the above incident.

  11. Michelle says:

    You know, this type of crime makes one feel so violated. When my husband and I were in college, someone broke the lock on his little Subaru Justy hatchback and stole his new stereo and speakers, which he has just received as a birthday present. The jackwagons weren't even considerate enough to shut the hatch on their way out. We didn't feel safe in that apartment complex after that. But it did teach me to take everything of value out of my car whenever it was unattended.

    Sorry this happened to you, Doni!

  12. Grammalyn says:

    I'm so sorry that this happened to you, Doni. I am going to be one to learn from your experience. I never carry much cash, but to lose my credit cards and personal items would be devastating. Now I'm careful that nothing even "looks" tempting in my car.

    Thanks for the good advice, my friend.

  13. George says:

    Doni, I copied all my cards before I finished the article. Why didn't I think of it before?

  14. Cheryl says:

    Just a suggestion; I never leave anything with my personal information on it in my car. I carry the registration and insurance information with me, in my wallet. Having lived in South. California for decades, I learned a lesson.

  15. kirsten says:

    Doni- this SUCKS! I've been there too, and you DO feel violated somehow. Simply because you are!

    On the other side: I have also been the luckiest son-of-a-gun to on two separate occasions having my wallet returned without a cent missing. Right here in River City. It will however NEVER make up for having to replace my "Green Card", when my purse was stolen some years ago. Take passport loss and multiply by three.

    But your article was SO worthwhile, and I will be more careful in the future, especially now when the thieves are "shopping" for presents………….

  16. Sunny says:

    Doni,

    Sorry this happened to you. As usual you turned a negative into a positve and made me laugh. Another tip for us ladies is to never put your purse in the shopping cart, it's to easy to turn away for a second and it's gone. Also keep your purse zipped, latched and closed. I was in Target the other day and a lady had her purse on her shoulder, but it was wide open and her wallet was right on top. I couldn't stand it so I told her it looked ready to fall out. She thanked me and closed her purse.

    In a public restroom don't put your purse on the hook if it's on the door. Someone can reach over from the other side and take it. In a restuarant I always put my purse over my knee, under the table. Keeps it off of the floor too, I worry about germs, LOL. Thanks to the other readers for the great tips.

    • Sunny, good tips. I had to laugh at how we're going to look if we follow all the suggestions: sitting in restaurants with purse straps wrapped around our ankles; sitting in public toilets with the purse … where … God knows not on the floor, maybe on our lap … now that's a balancing act. Re purses in shopping carts, I've always laced the child restraint seat belt around my purse strap and then dropped the purse in the basket.

      Update: Just spoke with our favorite auto body repair expert, Don Stec from Coachmaster in Redding. He cautioned me to not turn the heaters on full blast until the vents can be vacuumed out with a high-power suction … othewise tiny glass pieces will fly everywhere … and eyes are a close target. (Can you imagine me driving with Austin and having that happen?!) I'm going to Coachmaster tomorrow to have my vents and seats vacuumed. Thank you, Don Stec and team!

      Thank you, everyone, for sharing your wisdom and support. That's one of the things I love about this site; we care about each other and help one another. Makes the bad stuff bearable.

    • Mclisa says:

      Loop the purse strap a couple of times around the hook. Also, ask the establishment to move the hooks to a side wall.

  17. Mary says:

    I, too, have "other" names for these creeps, some of which broke into my home in the middle of the day last year and stole all my jewelry, most of which came from my mother or I had gathered from my travels — all with memories. They are irreplaceable and I couldn't afford to replace all of it anyway. I still look around every time I return home to make sure no one is in it. It's a terrible feeling to know someone has been in your space pawing through your things. I'm sorry it happened to you, dear Doni!

  18. Barbara N. says:

    I also had my purse stolen, while I walked my dog at the Clover Creek Preserve. Dumb me, such good people out getting some exercise, didn't even worry about it. Perfect place for the bad guys to prey on those good guys. Good advice to have all those numbers handy, I do now. I walk her now at the north end of Bechelli, and don't even bring my purse there!! Sorry to hear that might have been your broken glass I parked by one day, Charlie. I have an out of date drivers license that I keep in the glove box when I walk my dog. I know legally it should be my new one, but don't want to have to deal with the DMV again!! I now dread even doing multiple errands during the day. I drive a pickup, so no trunk. My thieves got a full tank of gas and a shopping spree at Shop-Ko from my credit card. Luckily I didn't have to pay for it, but it really pissed me off, damn thieves. Sorry for the long post, but I know how you feel Doni. Thanks for all of the good suggestions from the readers. Try to stay safe out there, it seems to be getting pretty ugly.

  19. Lynn Guinn says:

    I have the solution. Just let me be Boss of the World for two weeks! I'll take care of it all! Don't ask how, just be ready for a much more gentle and kind world. PLEASE! Just give me two weeks!! (and a few hundred loyal soldiers)

  20. Terry says:

    Doni, Thank You for the information. I have Xeroxed everything in my wallet…I'm glad you "waited" until I did it. 🙂 But I, too, am So sorry this happened to you.

    One thing I want to mention – when someone hacked into an online business and got my charge card number and was using it, the charge card company told me to contact the police department and file – what Was it?! – I think it was called something like an "identity theft" report.

    That way, if someone uses your information to buy a car, etc., you already have something on file with the Police Department that proves you had reported your identity information stolen, and it covers your buns. The RPD was very kind and helpful, and led me through the process.

    I'm going to send your article on to everyone – it's crucial for us to know!

    Thank you.

  21. Julie Hinson says:

    So sorry to read about the car break-in. I knew about copying all my personal stuff but just have not taken the time to do so. Thanks for the reminder. I also appreciate the information about the alarm on the Prius. I always thought the flashing "red car" on the dash meant it was alarmed. Now I now how to truely set my alarm. Why didn't we have this information?Thanks for sharing.

  22. Al says:

    I see now everyone is starting to believe me about crime increasing in Redding. I spent 12 years working in a position where I worked around and helped a lower class of people. It has gotten so dangerous I had to give it up. It started to get really bad when the mission increased it's size attracting more criminal freeloaders that also pray on those truly down and out trying to get back on their feet. Also keep an eye on the armory, buses full of parole's get off there all the time. Those who's ride never show up, end up wandering around our town. I also heard from a retired officer the county get paid for every parolee it absorbs. Maybe now people will start listening and try and do something about Redding becoming a dumping ground again.

  23. Michele says:

    So sorry, Doni! But what great reminders/lessons for us all, especially during these frenetic days of holiday shopping. I've done much dumber things and just been luckier – left my purse in the bottom of a shopping cart in the parking lot of Costco. They called before I got home! And one day at Turtle Bay, I got the stroller out of the trunk, put my purse in, and loaded up my granddaughter for a walk. Imagine my surprise when we returned an hour later to find the trunk wide open, and my purse sitting there untouched! Thank you, Redding! (Or maybe the baddies thought it was a sting?!)

  24. Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Great article Doni. I won't bore anyone with the stories of the three times my wallet has been stolen since I moved to Redding. The worst was when a thief came behind a barrier wall at Computer place and nabbed my wallet out of my purse under my desk. I take that back. The really bad part was the everyone told me I must has "left" my wallet somewhere. The good part was that the thief went over to Dickers (in the Downtown Mall) took all my money and dumped all the good stuff into a trash can where an employee found it. Thank you for reminding me to copy the contents of my wallet, which, over time seem to become more numerous and critical and hard to replace.

    I don't think honest people are turning to crime because of the economy. I think the economy is an added excuse for dishonest people to take the next step.

  25. Randall Smith says:

    Ditto the above final two sentences. Sixty years ago my parents, young adults during the Great Depression, never locked our home or their cars, never suffered a theft. We live in another universe and it has little to do with the economy. Most poor know honesty. "Too big to fail" bankers are quite capable of bad morals. This is not your old America. As Barry Goldwater was fond of saying, "You can not legislate brotherhood." It is unlikely bigger government will fix our current and growing horror.

  26. Canda says:

    Good reminders, Doni. I also learn my lessons from the school of hard knocks, and it's the pits! What great info from Don at Coachmaster. I never would have thought to have the vents vacuumed before turning on the heater, and in this weather, we need it on full blast. Anewscafe is such a great community!

  27. Colleen Collins says:

    So sorry for your loss. I learned this lesson the hard way. People wait near places where women don't want to keep track of their purse (like a hiking trail) or in my case a concert. The dumbest mistake which I made, is to put your purse in the trunk. Guess who just watches you do that, then breaks the window and uses that nifty trunk release latch inside. It is important to make a police report, everyone will ask for it (insurance company, bank, IRS if you file a loss etc. It is a good idea to know your bank too. My credit union returned everything the same day, and Washington Mutial took three months, and sent me the same paperwork three or for times. Another good idea is purge things that are not usually necessary, like your social security card. A friend used to use a more low tech approach: He kept a rattlesnake in his back pack.

  28. Derral Campbell says:

    So. It really is a new world, and we need to cultivate some new behaviors to inhabit it comfortably. I suggest planning ahead. Going to have to put the purse in the trunk? Do it before you leave home, or go to the next store. If I have some valuables they go in the trunk when I depart, not when I arrive. It's good to pay attention in parking lots, try to see the big picture. Staring at the ground limits your scope in more ways than one. I'm pretty sure I avoided getting mugged more than once in The City by spotting potential problems before they developed, back in my college days, and I find myself employing the same caution in the Redding area. As I age I find it comforting to avoid looking like a weak victim, mostly by limiting the amount of time I'm at all vulnerable.

  29. gg22901 says:

    A great article from yet another victim of our times!!! Theft is a crime of opportunity, so if you negate as much of the opportunity as possible, you substantially decrease the opportunity that you will be a victim. Christmas shopping is the perfect example. If you chose to leave you newly purchased Christmas presents in your vehicle, leave them in the trunk out of sight. Many thieves take the Holiday Season as an opportunity to prey on innocent victims in the parking lots of stores. Refuse to be a victim and have a very, merry Christmas…

  30. pmarshall says:

    Doni, so many good responses and good tips. This is no longer "good little ol' Redding. With so many people being being released (no room) from jail, we can expect a lot more of this. Also, morality seems to have gone away; even among politicians?), Anyway, I don't carry a purse. I have more important cards in my pocket with a couple of rubber bands around them (this drives my husband crazy). His advice to men is don't carry a wallet in the back pocket; if one is in a crowd, someone can easily slip that wallet out.

    And Doni, really sorry for what you had to go through. Now we have to really watch who is around us every minute. I'm sure this is happening almost everywhere. Really sad.

  31. KarenC says:

    Hi Doni,

    Sorry what happened to you. I did not read all the comments, so if this is a repeat, sorry for that, as well.

    I worked for the Redding Police Department for 10 years, and one of my hats was personal safety. My training officer said women should not carry purses when going out and about. Plan ahead to what you will be doing and needing. Put your driver's license in your pocket, cell, along with a credit card, hanky, maybe just enough cash that you will need for coffee, parking or lunch. You can also wear a waist hugging purse around your waist. They are a small, flat, and hold just enough for what you need. Frankly, I find purses to be bulky, and like you I carry a lot of things in mine. So, if you choose to carry a purse, empty unnecessary items, except what you need for that trip to town. Never, never, leave a purse, in your car for any reason. I was told by my officer that someone is always watching you, to see what mistakes you make that they can take advantage of.

    Personal safety takes some planning and effort but so does getting car windows fixed and dealing with insurance companies. Be proactive and enjoy the peace!

  32. david kerr says:

    Crooks in jail spend a lot of time talking about how to be a better crook. Sometimes they break into a car to steal the garage door remote. With the address from the registration, they can burglarize a house. Knock on the door for some pretext. Nobody home and they're in if there is no alarm or barking dog.

    I don't lock the car door because I don't keep valuables in it. My radio is one the thieves know requires a code if the power is interrupted.

    Trailheads and exercise classes are often hit because the driver is gone for a predictable time.

    Years ago, in Chicago, a friend had a dead battery. He took another car to buy a new one. Thieves stole the dead battery!

    • Actually, David, your point about not locking your car is another option, however, many insurance companies won't reimburse for lossses if the vehicle wasn't locked.

      On the other hand, an unlocked car that has no valuables in it may avoid having the windows smashed on the criminal's quest for a look around the interior.

      Having said that, the gentleman who installed my new window says that broken vehicle windows are on the rise, and sometimes entire neighborhoods are hit (he mentioned one where 15 vehicles' windows were smashed). He said that amazingly, the criminals even broke the windows of some cars with unlocked doors. Crazy! (You know what? I need to go check my car to see if my garage door opener and registration papers are still in the car. I hadn't even thought of those items. Sheesh. )

  33. erica jones-white says:

    living here in redding is still safer than other towns/communities, but to be on the safe side, i carry pepper spray AND a stun gun. one or the other is in my hand when i am out of my car going somewhere, or going to my car from somewhere. better safe than sorry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *