Police say to 'lock it or lose it'

Police use a variety of tools, including handcuffs, guns, batons, persuasion and education, to fight crime.

But Newport Beach police are now tapping into another resource: humor.

In a short clip posted on YouTube, Newport Beach police urged residents to keep their cars locked — and to leave valuables at home, never in their cars.

Officer Dave Darling crunches the numbers on how many property crimes in Newport are related to vehicles — 37% — and how many involved unlocked cars — more than 50%.

In other parts of the two-minute, 37-second video, Darling says it takes an average of five seconds for potential thieves to steal valuables from a vehicle.

The city spends $719,454.76 a year investigating thefts from vehicles, Darling says in the clip.

"Every time you keep your car unlocked, it's like leaving a giant sign on there saying, 'Hey! Come steal from me! It's all yours! You can have it,'" Darling says in the video.

The posting is part of "Lock It or Lose It," a larger campaign started in November that's modeled after the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Hide It, Lock It or Lose It campaign, which originated in Dana Point.

In addition to videos, the Police Department has distributed fliers and held community meetings on the theft prevention. Over the summer, police saw an uptick in "car hopping," where thieves — often teens — would check cars for unlocked doors and steal whatever was inside.

This isn't the first silly clip with a serious message the department has made. In April, the department uploaded a clip involving its citizen academy, where a "suspect" is attempting to bury a cardboard cutout in a garage and a "drunk driver" drops names ("Do you know who we are, first of all? … We … well, let me tell you, we are prominent residents of Newport Beach. Um … I know a captain … uh … Kirk. …").

Officer Dave Sanborn, who was behind the project, said he took inspiration from TV commercials that stick with the viewers long after their 30-second spot, like Spike Jones and IKEA.

"We really wanted to reach out to people in another way," Sanborn said. "We can get the same kind of message [to lock car doors], but it can be more effective."


Twitter: @lawilliams30

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