Hickory – On average, at least one vehicle break-in occurs each day in the City of Hickory. In these cases, over 80 percent of the vehicles were left unlocked, and 40 percent of stolen cars have the keys in them.

With these stats on the rise throughout the city, Hickory Police Department is looking to the community for help and has launched a new awareness campaign called Hide. Lock. Take. to remind people to protect their property and take measures to prevent these crimes.

“Although our officers are working hard every day to combat the recent increase in theft from autos and stolen vehicles, we need the community’s help,” said Police Chief Thurman Whisnant. “Many of these cases can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.”

The Hide. Lock. Take. campaign encourages all Hickory residents, visitors, and commuters to do three simple things: (1) HIDE your things, (2) LOCK your vehicle, and (3) TAKE your car keys.

Lieutenant Scott Hildebrand, Community Services Commander for the Hickory Police Department, noted, “In the winter months, it’s often tempting to warm up your car while waiting comfortably indoors. And, during the rush of running errands, it’s easy to forget to lock your vehicle or hide your packages from plain view. Unfortunately, these actions make your vehicle an easy target for thieves.”

Instances of auto theft and larceny from vehicles can be greatly reduced if citizens remember to follow these basic tips from the Hickory Police Department:

• Park in well-lit areas.
• Do not leave valuable items visible inside your vehicle, especially keys and electronics.
• Take items with you upon exiting the vehicle, or place them in a concealed location, like the trunk, before arriving at your destination.
• Never leave a running vehicle unattended.
• Always lock your vehicle and close all windows.
• Take your keys with you.

Please report any suspicious activity around automobiles to Hickory Police Department at (828) 328-5551.