Police Startle Drivers Into Protecting Vehicles

Posted February 8, 2008 at 3:53pm

Though car theft decreased on Capitol Hill as fall turned to winter, a recent string of burglaries has police tagging vulnerable cars with fake tickets to remind the owners not to leave valuables in view.

There have been about 50 cases citywide in the past two months where burglars have stolen GPS units from cars, said David Kamperin, commander of the Metropolitan Police Department’s 1st district. That led to the ticketing initiative.

“We’re trying to get ahead of this before it becomes a huge problem,” Kamperin said.

The pink tickets are designed to grab drivers’ attention, with “WARNING! Notice of Infraction” written in bold across the top. But in smaller print, they clarify that “this is not an actual ticket” and include tips for avoiding car theft and burglary.

Car burglaries increased in the 1st district recently before dropping last month. There were 114 burglaries in September, 116 in October, 138 in November and 141 in December, according to police statistics. January saw 124 car burglaries.

Vehicle theft in the 1st district, however, has dropped significantly in recent months. Thefts dipped from 88 in October to 82 in November, 60 in December and 52 in January.

— Daniel Heim