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Protect your belongings during July 4th celebrations by following these safety tips

Roanoke, Virginia – With July 4th celebrations just around the corner, many are planning outings to parks, trailheads, and other popular destinations. However, it’s important to remember not to leave wallets, purses, or any valuables in your car. Law enforcement agencies have reported a significant increase in vehicle break-ins and fraudulent banking activities across the region. Thieves are specifically targeting areas where people often leave their belongings in vehicles.

Rising Theft Incidents

Criminals are focusing on vehicles parked in public spaces like parks, trailheads, gyms, and even schools during after-hours athletic events. They often smash windows or break door locks, particularly targeting passenger door locks so the crime isn’t noticed immediately. Thieves are also known to open trunks in search of hidden valuables. Items commonly stolen include purses, wallets, cash, credit cards, and ID cards. Using the stolen identifications, they cash checks at local banks, stealing thousands of dollars before leaving the area. Additionally, they make large purchases at local businesses with stolen credit cards before victims can cancel them.

Prevention Tips

To avoid falling victim to these thefts, follow these essential tips:

  • Do not leave personal items in your car: This includes anything in the trunk. Always take your valuables with you or leave them at home.
  • Stay alert: Be cautious of out-of-state tags, rental vehicles, and any suspicious individuals in parking areas.
  • Report suspicious activity: If you notice anything unusual, call 9-1-1 or your local police department immediately.

If Your Car Is Broken Into

If you experience a vehicle break-in, it’s important to act quickly:

  • Contact the police: File a report where the break-in occurred and report all stolen items, including checks, credit cards, and ID cards.
  • Cancel your credit cards and notify your bank: This helps prevent further fraudulent activities.
  • Report fraudulent activity: If your credit card is used or a check is cashed, notify the police in the jurisdiction where it happened. This will allow them to access security footage that could help identify the suspects.
  • Place a fraud alert: Contact the three national credit reporting organizations to place a fraud alert on your name and social security number:
    • Equifax: 800-525-6285
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    • Trans Union: 1-800-916-8800

Stay Safe This Independence Day

As you enjoy the festivities this July 4th, take extra precautions to safeguard your belongings. “Don’t be a victim this July 4th – Take It With You (or leave it at home).” By following these tips, you can help prevent theft and ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Gayle Gordon

As a college student, making an extra buck now and then was very important. I started as a part-time reporter since I was 19 yo, and I couldn’t believe it might become a long-time career. I'm happy to be part of the Virginian Tribune's team.

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