AUTO THEFTS IN WESTCHESTER SPIKE 60%
WHITE PLAINS, NY — September 4, 2020 — Every police jurisdiction has seen car thefts this summer. Unlocked cars are the targets. Sept. 1, 2020 –Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced auto crimes continue to rise in the County at extremely high rates. Recent reports show widespread car thefts in residential areas including Scarsdale, where stolen vehicles have spiked by as much as 2000% over the same period from last year.
According to Scarpino, every municipality in the County has reported at least one theft and other incidents. Statistics compiled by the District Attorney’s Office Westchester Intelligence Center from local law enforcement show a year-over-year increase of 60% through the end of August.
Scarpino said, “While we do know of groups of professional thieves from New Jersey stealing luxury vehicles and exporting them for the overseas black market, a majority of thefts in the suburbs are carried out mostly by teens and young people from Connecticut’s urban areas who are coming into Westchester, stealing cars which are left unlocked and with a fob/key left in the car. The theft is bad enough, but these vehicles are being used to commit other crimes and endangering the lives of others. Some have been involved in police pursuits resulting in accidents. If you leave your car unlocked, you are helping criminals and putting others in danger.”
In addition to the vehicle thefts, police are also seeing a rise in vehicle “grab-and-go” thefts, where thieves help themselves to valuables left in the car.
“We reminded residents earlier in the summer and we are doing it again. The numbers are staggering. As auto thefts and grab-and-go crimes continue to plague the County along with the pandemic, I urge residents to be careful to lock their vehicles. These are crimes of opportunity,” said DA Scarpino.
The District Attorney’s Auto Theft Unit and the Westchester County Intelligence Center are assisting local police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, as well as law enforcement partners in Connecticut, in these investigations.
Comparative statistics ending August 31, 2020.
January-August 31, 2020 = 540 vehicles stolen
January- August 31, 2019 = 338 2019 total = 519
Outside of the 4 big cities, Rye, Scarsdale, Harrison, North Castle, Greenburgh have seen the largest number of stolen vehicles.
Police Jurisdiction 2020 YTD
North Castle 15
Communities with the largest increases in thefts this year so far are Scarsdale, Rye Brook, Sleepy Hollow, Town of Mamaroneck and Irvington.
Police Jurisdiction 2019-2020 % increase:
Scarsdale 1 to 21 – 2000%
Rye Brook 1 to 13 – 1200%
Sleepy Hollow 0 to 7 – 700%
Mamaroneck Town 0 to 6 – 600%
Irvington 0 to 4 – 400%
TIPS TO KEEP YOUR VEHICLE FROM BEING STOLEN OR RIFLED THROUGH:
Put a stop to auto theft. Spread the word. Lock your car. Take the fob and put it far enough away so it doesn’t work. One particular tip: Set a phone alarm every night to remind you to lock up before calling it a night!
Never leave your key or key fob in the car
Never leave car running unattended
Never keep garage door openers in the car if it is not parked in a locked garage
Always lock the car doors
Always remove or hide all valuables
Always activate your alarm if you have one
Always close the car windows
Always park in a well-lit area at night if possible Note: The DA’s Office has launched a social media campaign to combat thefts.
Please see our social accounts and share on Facebook and Twitter. #WestchesterSafe
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SOURCE: Helen Jonsen | Westchester County District Attorney | Director of Public Information