The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office took part in a public service announcement that reminds people about the need to lock up their vehicles.
Sheriff Dave Marshak appears in the 30-second commercial, which began airing on Spectrum (Charter) cable channels Friday (Jan. 10). The PSA is expected to air on various channels at various times until Feb. 10, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Grant Bissell said.
The commercial warns the public about criminal activity that started to rise in the summer of 2019, when groups from outside the county began to come here to find unlocked vehicles to steal from. If keys are left in the vehicles, the culprits steal the vehicles.
The thieves have targeted other areas as well, and St. Louis County Councilman Mark Harder, R-District 7; Ellisville Police Chief Steve Lewis; and Manchester Police Chief Scott Will also appear in the PSA.
The idea for the commercial came from a series of meetings Harder arranged over the summer with leadership from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Louis County Police Department and municipal police departments from around the St. Louis area, Bissell said..
In a Facebook post promoting the PSA, the Sheriff’s Office said there are many reasons the number of stolen vehicles and thefts from vehicles has risen, including a Missouri Supreme Court ruling last year that says courts must find the least restrictive way to release a defendant from jail while awaiting trial, which typically means a person is released without having to pay a bond.
People leaving cars unlocked and with keys in them is another contributing factor for the thefts, the Facebook post said.
The Sheriff Office reported that stolen vehicles hit an all-time high of 360 in 2019. The Sheriff’s Office said at least 305 of the stolen vehicles were reportedly left unlocked and 252 of those unlocked vehicles also had the keys inside at the time of the theft.
The PSA can be seen on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.