Burglars are not only ones trying to get in

If police in the suburb of Upper Moreland have their way, residents won’t have just burglars to worry about snooping into their cars — they’ll also have the cops.

Township police want to fine owners $25 for leaving their cars unlocked in public areas. The controversial proposal was presented Monday by Police Chief Thomas Nestel, who said that for the past three years nearly 75 percent of break-ins have been a result of people not locking their doors.

“It’s increasing and the number of unsecured vehicles is increasing,” Nestel said, noting that the town averages between 100 and 125 break-ins. “We’ve tried community education, but this is a safe neighborhood so people don’t feel the need to lock [their vehicles].”

According to Nestel, police would do spot checks in dense residential neighborhoods. On the first offense, officers would leave a note inside the car and lock the doors. The second offense would be a $25 fine.

Many residents strongly oppose the idea. “It’s my right not to lock my door if I want,” said Dana Fancher, whose unlocked Jeep has been broken into twice.

Joe Bojtschewsky agreed. “As soon as they start paying for my car, they can lock my doors.”
Commissioner Donna Parsell said early consensus is that the ordinance is “not a good idea.”

“Chief Nestel has done something very important by raising awareness of the issue, so even if this doesn’t go anywhere … it still has shed a lot of light [on the issue],” Parsell said.

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