Park Smart! Sign Program
Chief Emmett Turner announced August 25, 2000, the Metropolitan Police Department and convenience markets in the city have joined together in a new campaign to prevent auto theft called "Park Smart!"
An analysis of 3,024 auto thefts between January 1st and August 16th, 2000 shows that 781 of the vehicles or 25.8% were stolen with the keys left inside. Convenience markets are common places for motorists to leave keys in cars and all too often are the scenes of auto theft.
Beginning August 25, 2000, "Park Smart!" signs will begin appearing in the windows of convenience markets urging citizens to lock their vehicles, secure their valuables and take their keys with them. The first markets to display the signs will be those in two geographical hotspot areas of Nashville which, according to a police department study, saw a majority of auto theft cases in 1998 and 1999. Those areas are just east of the inner loop in a primarily residential area, and just west of the inner loop in a primarily business area.
"We hope the signs will remind motorists to secure their vehicles in market parking lots, but also in their driveways and everywhere else they park. An empty vehicle with the keys left inside is a very easy target for an auto thief, who can be in the car and out of sight before the owner even knows what happened," Chief Turner said.
As part of the campaign, the police department will be mailing "Park Smart!" reminders and surveys to the hundreds of businesses and residences in the two hotspot areas asking for citizen input on a variety of questions, including perceived problems in their neighborhoods and their habits concerning auto theft prevention. The completed surveys will help the police department further address the auto theft issue and other community concerns.
A continuing community concern is the theft of items, such as computers, cellular telephones and purses, from the interior of motor vehicles. There were 759 of those thefts during the month of July alone. The Metropolitan Police Department reminds motorists not to leave valuable items in plain view when leaving their vehicles. This includes compact discs, in that used CD's are valuable and are easy for a thief to sell.
"Park Smart!" is funded by a problem solving partnership grant from the federal government. Businesses outside of the hotspot areas desiring to display "Park Smart!" signs should contact the community coordinator sergeant for the precinct in which they reside.