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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Prevent Car Prowls this Holiday Season

Holiday Packages in Car

During the holidays, busy residents frequently leave packages and luggage in their cars while shopping and running errands. In anticipation of this happening, car prowlers case shopping areas, targeting cars that contain valuables that are visible. Thieves can break into a car within seconds. Please take extra precautions to prevent car prowls this holiday season:

  • Keep the interior of your car “showroom clean” with nothing in it. Thieves break into cars for anything that they think may be valuable or contain valuables including coins, gym and other bags, etc.
  • Carry your purchases with you while you shop. If that’s impractical, place them in the trunk and move your car to another location in case a car prowler is observing the parking lot.
  • Park in a well-lit and well-traveled area to increase the chances that other shoppers can observe your car.
  • Hide accessories for mobile phones and other devices. They have value and indicate that an electronic device may be stashed in your vehicle.
  • Remove documents containing personal information, garage door openers and other items that can make you vulnerable to other crimes.
  • Close and lock windows and doors before you leave.
  • Remember to activate the alarm upon exiting your car.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. If you observe someone looking into vehicles and/or checking car handles, report the suspicious activity to the police. Call 9-1-1 for immediate threats to life or property or crimes in progress. If it is not an immediate threat, you can call the police non-emergency number at 503-823-3333.

For more car prowl prevention tips, visit:

For more holiday shopping safety tips, see: