With the season of driveway warmups approaching, St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz is warning motorists to guard against car thieves looking for easy pickin’s.
Motor vehicle thefts in St. Charles County have declined dramatically since their high-water mark in 2020. The number of stolen vehicles in the county plunged following the creation of a multi-agency Criminal Interdiction Task Force at the start of 2021. Thefts dropped from 632 in 2020, to 537 in 2021, to 399 last year.
Chief Frisz says local vehicle owners can play a role in keeping that crime rate down—especially over the next few months.
“We’ve been successful in combating car thieves through active regional enforcement, but some of the best defenses start with the vehicle owner,” says Frisz. “The colder months and holidays tend to bring an uptick in thefts of all kinds, so it’s important to secure your vehicle to avoid being targeted.”
Frisz says the most important step to keep your vehicle safe is to lock your doors every time you get out, even at home. About 90 percent of recent vehicle thefts in the county involved vehicles with unlocked doors.
“Even if you’re only leaving the car for a couple minutes, don’t give thieves any chance to get into your car. Definitely don’t leave your keys or key fob in the vehicle unattended for any amount of time,” Frisz advises. “It’s tempting to leave the car heater running when it gets cold outside and you’re just making a quick stop at the convenience store, but your vehicle is highly vulnerable in that moment.”
In one example of recent thefts, a group targeted two vehicles at a gas station in the City of St. Charles on a sunny Sunday morning. They accessed the unlocked vehicles within seconds of arriving, and stole one of the cars that still had the key inside.
Added steps to protect your vehicle include:
• Never leave a firearm in your vehicle.
• Park in your home garage if you have one.
• Park in well-lit areas close to building entrances when possible.
• Never keep any valuables in your vehicle, especially not in plain sight.
|Motor Vehicle Thefts|
Lake St. Louis P.D.
St. Charles City P.D
St. Charles County P.D.
St. Peters P.D.
Overall Total - SCC
Overall St. Charles County Vehicle Thefts
2020: Up +64.16% from 2019
2021: Down -15.03% from 2020
2022: Down -25.7% from 2021
**As reported on 02/24/2023 to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Uniform Crime Reporting (MIBRS)