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Long IslandCrime

Suffolk police: 7-Eleven, media to join Lock-It campaign

Suffolk County police are relaunching the "Lock it" program to reduce car thefts throughout the county, officials announced at a news conference in Yaphank on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. The department says 7-Eleven will partner on the campaign.  (Credit: James Carbone)

Suffolk County police are relaunching their “Lock It” campaign to encourage people to lock their parked vehicles.

Police and Crime Stoppers are leading the outreach effort, with help from 7-Eleven and major shopping centers, officials said.

The convenience store chain will display posters in each of its 188 stores in Suffolk, and several radio and cable television outlets will donate airtime for public service announcements.

Tanger Outlets in Deer Park and Riverhead, Walt Whitman malls and other big retail centers “will reengage their support” by displaying the poster in well-trafficked locations, the police department said.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers president Nick Amarr applauded the campaign, saying it will prevent future auto thefts and break-ins.

“A lot of people leave their wallets, credit cards, money and purses in their cars,” Amarr said. “A lot of drug addicts will go to malls and other places with large parking lots. If a car is open, they will rifle through it.”

He said the campaign will protect Long Island motorists and will free up police to investigate other crimes.

At a news conference at police headquarters in Yaphank on Thursday, officials said 635 motor vehicle thefts had been reported in Suffolk this year through Aug. 15. There were 652 vehicles stolen during the same period last year and 719 in 2015.

Larceny theft from motor vehicles has also declined, according to Suffolk police: 1,830 have been reported through Aug. 15, compared to 2,169 during the same period last year and 2,256 in 2015.

“Lock It” was originally launched in September 2016 after crime-mapping programs showed reports of vehicle-related thefts often occur in clusters, typically at a mall parking lot or on a single block.

Nassau County officials warned drivers earlier this year about leaving vehicles unlocked.

“We had 10 people alone who went into 7-Eleven while they left [their cars] running” last year, said Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said in January.

“So we do need the community’s help,” he said. “While we’d like to be able to leave our cars running in front of 7-Eleven, it really isn’t in anybody’s best interest to do so.”

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