Car Break Alert

The Lowell Police Department blog reports and uptick in break-ins to cars in the city, especially in South Lowell and Lower Belvidere. The police point out that in two-thirds of the breaks, the car doors were left unlocked. They urge everyone to always lock car doors and to refrain from leaving anything of value visible in the passenger compartment when you’re away from the vehicle.

This last piece of advice is particularly important. Through the years at the Superior Courthouse, we’ve had a number visitors return to the building with sad tales of broken windows and snatched items, all in broad daylight and usually involving something of minimal value such as a few CDs or an ashtray filled with change.

Not too long ago I met up with an out-of-town researcher bound for the Pollard Memorial Library and volunteered to help with some research. We began at the State Archives in Boston and then I hitched a ride with him in his rental car back to Lowell. I noticed that he had bills of various denominations stuffed in the ash tray and the arm rest of his door, presumably to be ready for any toll booths that might be encountered. When we got to Lowell, I prevailed upon him to move the money and other items in the backseat to the trunk where they’d be out of sight. I promised that if he failed to do that, he would return to a broken window and missing items. He looked at me first as though I was joking but sensed my seriousness and did as I advised. Afterwards, I felt badly that I was forced to bring up the subject, because it certainly put the city in a negative light. But prudence dictates to me, at least, to never leave exposed items in a car anywhere, anytime. That’s just Common Sense 101. It’s no guarantee that you won’t be the victim of a break, but it increases the odds that the bad guys will move on to a more lucrative-looking target.