By Bill Miranda
Santa Clarita City Mayor
Last spring, the City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita’s Valley Sheriff’s Station launched a brand-new campaign, “Guard That Auto,” which was aimed at preventing the number of auto-related thefts throughout the City. The campaign encourages residents to “keep your keys out of the hands of thieves” through a bold series of advertisements, posters, social media and creative videos.
I have no doubt that many of you have seen this campaign and have done your part to “Guard That Auto.” Unfortunately, the number of GTAs this year has gone up over the same period as last year, about 2.2%. This increase can be attributed to the blanket policies put in place by current District Attorney George Gascon.
Under these policies, a car thief can steal a vehicle, be arrested by one of our hard-working deputies, spend only about four hours in jail and is then released on citation – and unfortunately, is free to commit other crimes.
Shockingly, in a few cases, suspects have been released from jail only to be caught stealing another vehicle within hours. The result is emboldened criminals who repeatedly break the law without proper prosecution, intervention or rehabilitation.
Even with the challenged of the DA’s policies, there are still things you can do to protect your vehicle and valuables. Remember these important tips to “Guard That Auto:”
- Keep your keys inside your home and out of your car. Leaving the keys in your car is an invitation for crooks to steal your car. Keep you keys with you and know where they are at all times.
- Be Mindful of your surroundings, paying special attention to where you park your car. Parking in your garage, driveway, a well-traveled parking spot, under a street light or other well-lit areas are great ways to keep your car safe.
- Using a theft protection device, like the Club, is a simple yet effective method that decreases the chance of car theft.
- Remember to clean out your car and take your valuable with you; thieves can’t steal what isn’t there.
Our public safety officials have done an admirable job protecting our residents and businesses day after day, and I urge all of you to continue doing your part to help them out. If your car has ever been stolen or broken into, you know how violated, helpless and angry that can make you feel – not to mention the financial burden that can incur due to insurance deductibles and necessary repairs. Overall, an experience like that can be extremely unpleasant, but by following these simple tips, we can do our best to minimize the chances of this happening.
To learn more about how you can “Guard That Auto,” please visit santa-clarita.com/GTA or follow the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station and the City of Santa Clarita’s social media accounts.