Police Are Trying to Stop Car Break-Ins with Stickers

The campaign is in response to a rash of thefts from vehicles parked in Kenmore and the Fenway.

Image via Boston Police

Image via Boston Police

In an effort to curb crime in certain neighborhoods around the city, Boston Police are now slapping warning stickers on the poles of parking meters, reminding drivers not to leave valuables in their vehicles that criminals can easily see and steal.

But it seems like some thieves will grab just about anything, even if it’s not of much value.

According to a Reddit user whose car was stolen over the weekend in the Fenway, the alleged suspects ignored cash and other goods that police are warning people to take inside and instead grabbed random objects. “A thief broke into my car last night near Fenway and stole a military backpack. I guess a couple other cars on my street got broken into as well. The [weird] thing is that they didn’t take my cash, knives, Oakley sunglasses, or medications,” the user wrote.

The user said the only things missing from the vehicle were a “sweaty gym shirt,” a blank CD, and some shampoo.

To thwart this type of crime, during the Memorial Day holiday, police announced the introduction of their sticker campaign on their blog, calling it “a new way to reach out to residents and visitors regarding car breaks.” According to police crime data, despite a citywide decrease in larceny from motor vehicles last year, when compared to 2012, District D-4, which encompasses Back Bay, South End, Kenmore Square, and the Fenway, was the most “active district” for car break-ins. Police said 54 percent of all of the larceny cases in that district in 2013 occurred specifically in the Kenmore and Fenway area, the same location where the Reddit user said his car was broken into.

Perhaps more troubling than the actual thefts is the fact that police are largely placing the blame for those crimes on the backs of drivers who leave items clearly visible inside of their vehicles for extended periods of time. “This is a crime of opportunity. Thieves aren’t breaking into random cars. People are leaving valuables in plain view within their cars and becoming victimized,” according to a statement from the Boston Police.

If the Reddit user is to be believed, however, thieves are also targeting cars regardless of what’s in sight. Whether putting stickers in a hard-to-see location on parking meters reminds car owners to clear out their entire vehicle—towels, blank CDs, and sweaty gym clothes included—remains to be seen. According to police, the department plans to monitor the sticker campaign for at least three months, and later expand it across the district pending its success.

But to ease concerns, police said the stickers are not the only way they are combatting these types of petty crimes. Officers are “actively and stringently” patrolling the neighborhoods, but they are relying on the assistance of residents and the new warning stickers to increase awareness about the plague of thefts.