Better lock your doors. Local Connecticut police officers are reporting that they are overwhelmed with car thefts, and are in a full on epidemic.

According to an article on News 8 entitled Local Cops Say Car Thefts By Juveniles Now Epidemic, the culprits are actually juveniles.

The article goes on to say that one of the heaviest hit towns is in Clinton with over 40 cars stolen in 2018. Clinton PD say they are dealing with youths who come to town every night with one goal in mind — to steal vehicles. And, this isn’t the first time for some victims.

One case in particular, according to the article, involved four juveniles who were “determined not to give up easy,” when Clinton Police tried to stop them from stealing a car. One of them was wearing an ankle bracelet from a previous incident. The four juveniles in the car were driving at offices. Luckily, they narrowly missed officers. However, they still caused over $4,000 in damage to the car.

Now, for juveniles, the law is a bit different than for adults. According to an article on the New Haven Register entitled CRIME: Wave of Car Thefts, Burglaries Hit Shoreline, police are less likely to put juveniles into detention. This, the article says, will lead to repeat offenders.

But, Clinton is not the only Shoreline town that is affected by the epidemic. Some other towns affected include Milford, Branford, New Haven, Guilford and Waterbury. The article says that in Branford alone, there was a 29 percent increase of car thefts in 2018.

Furthermore, the article goes onto to say that cars are not the only thing being taken. In many cases, wallets, laptops, money, and other valuable items are being taken from cars as well.

So, what preventative measures can be taken to avoid becoming a victim?

Here’s the most painfully obvious: lock your doors. I know, that’s a simple one, but many of us can forget to this. This includes when you’re pumping gas in your car, or even when you’re picking up your coffee.

In addition, make sure that you take out whatever items of value you may have in your car — even if you are only leaving it for a second.

Finally, make sure that you don’t leave the keys in the ignition (or if you have a key-less car, in the car) unattended. I know, that’s painfully obvious. However, with winter in full swing, many of us will start the car and go back into the house.

With that being said, be sure to use some common sense to avoid being a victim.

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