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Recent auto burglaries underscore the value of the 9 p.m. routine

Former police officer says repetition is key to building smart habits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Reports of car break-ins in the last week in the Avondale and Mandarin areas are yet another reminder to not leave valuables in your cars and to always lock the car doors.

On the Nextdoor app, an Avondale woman warned neighbors that her husband saw a man going from car to car on Ingleside Avenue about 2:30 a.m. June 4, tugging on their door handles to check if they were unlocked.

She said police were called and came to the area, but noted the man was gone by the time they arrived. According to an incident report, an officer found one vehicle had been ransacked after the owner left it unlocked. Someone had also rifled through three other vehicles nearby.

The woman is reminding people to lock their cars in an area where dozens of them can usually be found parked up and down the streets.

Also within the last week, a private investigator said his daughter fell victim to a car burglary. In this case, she left her car unlocked only for a couple minutes while running into her apartment to grab something. All of her valuables, including her purse and wallet, were gone when she returned.

Private investigator Tom Verri, who's a former New York City Police Department officer, said it's a reminder that forgetting to lock your car, even if you're only leaving it unattended for a couple of minutes, can end turn south quickly. And it can happen to just about anyone.

“She was going in and out of the apartment, didn’t even realize she forgot to lock the car,” Verri said. “I think she was taking items in and out and advertently left these things in plain view and someone must’ve come along.”

Verri said he reminded his daughter and continues to remind others the importance of repetition. The more you do something, like locking your car as soon as you close the door, the less likely you are to forget to do so in the future.

He also underscored the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office's 9 p.m. routine. It’s a nightly social media campaign that encourages people to make sure they've removed any valuables from their cars and locked the doors before they go to bed.