The Virginia Beach Police Department recently announced that they would be handing out report cards that grade citizens’ vehicle security in order to combat the rise in car break-ins.
The program is intended to improve people’s safety behaviors to deter and prevent thefts.
According to police data, Virginia Beach reported 2,912 motor vehicle larcenies in 2021, which is 15% more than the previous year.
Under the new program, officers will check parked vehicles for such vulnerabilities as open windows, unlocked doors and visible valuables. They will then leave report cards on the vehicles noting their findings, and will leave the car with either a pass or fail.
Officers will not enter or search any vehicles during their inspection.
Police reassured the public that the report cards are not tickets and do not come with any punishment. Police hope that by issuing such cards, they can educate car owners about unsafe behaviors that leave their vehicles easy targets for thieves.
“The department hopes the card will help to track trends for parts of the community and give car owners a chance to re-evaluate the accessibility of their vehicles to those looking to take advantage of unlocked doors or visible property,” the department said in a social media post.
“We hope to pass out lots of cards for vehicles that ‘Pass!’ Make sure you’re doing your part to lessen larcenies from motor vehicles in Virginia Beach,” the post concluded.
Officials say the program is modeled off of a similar report card program used for 15 years in Cincinnati, the city where Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate’s previously worked for 30 years.
“It has been successful there in reducing larcenies from vehicles and motor vehicle thefts,” Neudigate. “They have not had a history of the program causing a larceny or theft to occur due to the cards being left on the vehicles,” the chief assured.