The program cautions citizens to lock their car doors and hide their valuables.
Following a string of car burglaries in the spring, the program was successful this summer, but it also served another purpose.
Pekin Police Explorer Ashley Dickinson is going from car to car in this parking lot.
“I’m helping, uh, prevent crimes today and inform the public of what could happen to their vehicle if they leave it unlocked and property out,” said sixth year Police Explorer Ashley Dickinson.
The Police Explorer program gets teenagers in Pekin out and training with officers.
She and her fellow explorers have joined Pekin Police on this sporadic parking lot checks throughout the summer to see if vehicles are at risk for a break in.
They’re graded on a pass-fail scale.
“I'd say about a third, a third fail and two thirds pass.”
Cars with any type of radar detectors, GPS systems and just a lot of electronics could in sight could earn a failing grade.
A cracked window, that's no big deal. But a window rolled down. That's a mark against you. They even check our car. And it looks like we passed.
But others weren’t so lucky.
It’s all part of Pekin’s “Hide, Lock, Take” program and there’s no penalty for failing.
There’s also no reward for passing.
“It's just a little reminder that says I did leave my car unlocked. Oh yeah I did leave my valuables in site,” said Detective Mike Eeten from the Pekin Police Department.
These little reminders seem to be working.
Pekin residents are hiding their valuables and locking their doors more this summer than in years past.
“We started looking at our numbers and our burglaries to motor vehicles is down from 50 percent to 60percent over the last three months,” said Detective Eeten
But these mornings spent with the Police Explorers serve another purpose. It gives the crime fighters of tomorrow a chance to learn from the officers of today.
So when their time comes to don the badge, they’re ready.
“I've got a great amount of respect now for the law enforcement officers here and everywhere else in the world.”
The Pekin Police Department also used billboards and public service reminders as part of the “Hide, Lock, Take” program for the first time this summer.
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