Vehicle Prowls are at an all-time high in Washington, particularly in Tri-Cities.

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The Richland Police Department reports a rise in "crimes of opportunity." For instance, a crime may be committed when an "opportunist" spots a car parked on the side of the road or a vehicle running in the driveway. Offenders make a rational choice to get a high reward with little effort and virtually no risk.


How can you protect yourself from being the target of a vehicle prowl?

If you find your vehicle vandalized, report it by calling the non-emergency hotline at 509-628-0333. Make sure you pay special attention to note the case or incident number. Your insurance company will need this information for you to make a claim.


Don't leave anything of value in your vehicle. Remove anything of value from your vehicle. This incudes anything that appears to have value, but may not. You may not see your empty gym bag or backpack as valuable. However, an "opportunist" will make the assumption that something valuable is inside the bag or backpack.

LOCK YOUR DOORS. A lot of times, people leave their doors unlocked as they consider a thief will break in anyway. Some people think it's better to let a thief do so without damaging the vehicle. REMEMBER THIS: a person opening a door and gaining entry does NOT attract attention. A person breaking a window does.

If you can, park near a street light. And, when parking in a lot, place anything of value in the trunk. Nothing valuable to you should be seen in your vehicle.

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