SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - It only takes a few seconds to secure your valuables and lock your car door, but in the same amount of time a thief can lift an unlocked car door and steal all the valuables left in plain sight.

Auto-burglary prevention, like all crime prevention, involves limiting the criminal's ability and/or opportunity to commit the crime. With very little time and effort, you can make a huge difference in your vulnerability to auto-burglary.

The first thing you need to do is to keep your car secure and consistently lock your doors. Locking your doors is the single biggest deterrent in car burglaries. A number of car burglaries that have taken place throughout central New Jersey had one common theme, the car doors were left unlocked. Crooks do not break in to locked cars for fear of alarms, time and just sheer effort.

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Locks were made for a reason and there have been crooks from the beginning of time. Don’t make a robber’s job easy by leaving the door open. Also, make sure your windows are closed.

Keep your valuables out of plain sight, or do not leave them in the car. IPods, purses, loose change, backpacks, GPS units, etc. Most of the time, thieves are looking for the obvious to make quick cash. Do not leave anything that might contain valuables visible, such as a briefcase, or boxes that might indicate value. Remove from your vehicle or store them in your trunk. The best advice is to keep your car clean.

Do not keep your garage door opener visible or remove it from the vehicle. Lock your glove compartment; most people keep their registration and other important documents in the glove department.

Don’t leave clues that indicate their might be valuables in your car, such as docking stations, connector cables or marks on your holder for your EZ Pass.

If you have an alarm or anti-theft device use it! Alarms are a huge deterrent.

Some of the most common items stolen from automobiles are:

Backpacks, gym bags, briefcase, cash/coin, wallets, purses, laptops, IPods, cell phones, portable GPS units, stereo, keys, anything with value.

If you have any questions concerning auto burglaries, contact the South Plainfield Detective Bureau at 908-226-7660 or email Det. Sgt. Garrett Cassio at gcassio@sppolice.com.