49th Precinct offers theft prevention tips

The captain of the 49th Precinct has noticed a disturbing trend in recent months, as thefts of Global Positioning Systems and laptop computers from the interior of cars has become a hot crime. He wants to provide safety tips for people to protect their valuables.

Captain Kevin Nicholson noticed an uptick in petty larceny which can be traced to thefts of G.P.S. systems and laptops from parked cars. He asked 49th Precinct Crime Prevention Officer Troy Doiley to provide the public with useful information about keeping their G.P.S. systems and laptop computers from being stolen when their cars are parked on the street.

“People go shopping and leave their laptops in their car, which is something that you just can not do,” Doiley said. “We are urging them to take their valuables with them when they are not in the car.”

Police Officer Doiley also makes it clear that motorists should wipe any residue from G.P.S. suction cups from their windshield before exiting their vehicles. They should also not leave the base of G.P.S. systems on their dashboards. Both actions have resulted in thefts that have been classified as petty larceny, meaning that the items stolen are under $1,000 in value. “Motorists need to wipe away residue from the suction cups of G.P.S. systems on their windshields which alerts thieves that there is something of value in the car,” Doiley said. “Leaving the residue, or the G.P.S., is like saying ‘hello, come steal me.’”

Doiley will initiate a serial number etching program similar to one he has done in the past for cell phones. Anyone can bring their laptop or G.P.S. to the precinct to have it registered with the police.

Etching consists of placing a serial number on any small- or medium-sized electrical device, typically in a place where it is visible to the trained eye. The ID number is only visible under black light. After ethcing occurs, the item is placed on a roster at the precinct which links each G.P.S. system or laptop to its righful owner, facilitating the quick return of any stolen merchandise.

The etching program is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m to 10 p.m. Doiley said that if anyone wanting the service cannot come to the precinct at 2121 Eastchester Road, he will travel to residents’ homes to perform the etching on a G.P.S. or laptop computer. No appointment is necessary.

To reach P.O. Doiley, call the 49th Precinct Crime Prevention office at (718) 918-2026.

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