Vehicle theft is a big problem in Yakima County with an average of 500 to 700 vehicles stolen every year just in the city of Yakima. Authorities urge people to lock vehicles and never leave valuables in plain site. But thieves not only steal cars they steal what's inside cars as well. That's the message from the Yakima County Sheriff's Office. Deputies say if your plans include a visit to Legends Casino in Toppenish make sure you take all the precautions so you don't become a victim of vehicle theft or having something stolen from your car.

The sheriff's office recently placed a warning on social media

In a recent message to social media users the Yakima County Sheriff's Office says lock your vehicle and don't leave anything in your vehicle you don't want stolen. The Deputies say once inside the casino keep your wallet and phones in your pocket not next to you on a gaming machine. What's the problem? Authorities say despite all the security cameras and security inside and outside of the casino thieves are at the casino "waiting for you to not pay attention."

Casinos aren't the only place criminals are looking for opportunity

But it's not just casinos where criminals are looking for items in a car or a car to steal. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs is out with a new report that shows vehicle thefts increased 99 percent in March 2022 compared to March 2021. Also vehicle thefts have increased 88 percent year-to-date for 2022 compared to 2021.
They also note the thefts have increased 93 percent since a number of new laws went into effect at the end of July 2021.

Protect yourself as much as possible especially if you have an older vehicle

“The data show what our law enforcement and communities are seeing out there every day-the word is out and criminals know what they can do under our current laws,” says WASPC Executive Director Steve Strachan.  “Each of these alarming numbers represent a victim, and victims of auto theft too often are those who can least afford it-with older cars with fewer anti-theft systems, with less insurance coverage, and with greater impacts on their lives.”
Authorities say the new state laws coupled with a lack of police officers and sheriff's deputies in the state mean people need to take extra precautions to keep themselves and property safe.

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