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Theft from Vehicle Prevention - Letter Program

Theft from Vehicle Prevention - Letter Program

Eugene Police Department

Synopsis: A partnership with local security companies aims to educate the public about practices that may make them targets for theft from vehicle.


Problematic Behavior Or Activity

Theft from vehicles continues to be a problem in our community. Downtown parking garages and other large surface lots, either seasonally or during events, are particularly vulnerable.

Impact On The Community

We’ve gotten feedback from those receiving these letters thanking us for the information. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Occasional negative feedback is received.


Program Description

This program works in partnership with Eugene-area security companies and with EPD Volunteer Senior Patrol. Security who patrol and monitor parking lots and garages will take a cursory look inside parked cars to be observant of valuable items left in view. Security officers should be in uniform, should not touch the vehicle, and should be as discreet as possible so as not to alarm anyone observing their activity. If the officer observes a valuable item or a potentially valuable item, such as a bag, the security officer will then fill out the supplied card with vehicle descriptive information, along with a notation of the item(s) they observed. This card should be returned to EPD crime prevention within a two-week period.

Once the card is received, trained volunteers will check the card’s vehicle description with DMV records. If the make and model match, a letter is then mailed to the registered owner letting them know their vehicle was at risk of being broken into. Our brochure is also included.

Security officers can utilize this program at locations where they are aware of problems, at strategic times of the year when problems can arise (such as holidays, events, etc.), or at any time they would like to do a spot check at a location. It is not necessary to look at every single vehicle within a parking lot, but to focus on a sampling.

If this program is being applied to a private parking lot, the property owner must give permission in writing to the program manager.

Many private lots and several private security companies in Eugene are participating with our Volunteer Senior Patrol team. Locations such as City of Eugene parking garages, trailheads, parks and facilities are included, along with various private locations at churches, shopping malls and centers, and business-complex areas.


Cost of letterhead and mailing is absorbed through the Crime Prevention Unit budget. Security officer and volunteer staff time is utilized at no cost to the department.


Program Impact

137 letters have been sent year to date (Jan-Nov) for 2015, based on observations by our Volunteer Senior Patrol Team alone. Stats for private security letters are not available at this time.