The January shooting of Saginaw Township Police Department Officer Jeff Koenig has given new meaning to this year’s “Lock It or Lose It” campaign, which kicks off later this month.
“What happened with Officer Koenig unfortunately involved two vehicles that had been left unlocked and with keys inside, which were then stolen,” explained STPD Crime Prevention Officer and “Lock It or Lose It” Coordinator Chris Fredenburg.
“Everyone here at the department is so thankful to see Jeff these days as he continues to recover, but the event is a reminder of just how important the ‘Lock It or Lose It’ campaign is in our communities. This is a crime of opportunity and many times can be prevented by simply locking your vehicles,” explained Fredenburg.
Started in 2011, “Lock It or Lose It” is the township’s annual awareness campaign designed to reduce thefts from parked vehicles. It runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is the period when these incidents are most common.
The program’s three tips are simple:
• Remove valuables from vehicles
• Make sure vehicles are locked
• Report any suspicious activity
Residents and local media are invited to attend this year’s official “Lock It or Lose It” launch event, taking place on Wednesday, May 22, at 2 p.m., at Saginaw Bay Underwriters, 1258 S. Washington Ave.
“‘Lock It or Lose It’ has been enormously successful over the years,” said STPD Chief Donald Pussehl.
“Before this program, there were about 220 larcenies from vehicles per year in Saginaw Township. Now that average is only about 130 per year.”
However, STPD Crime Prevention Officers Randy Schroeder and Adam Nothelfer explained that in the past year, the department has apprehended “groups” that focus on this type of crime.
“Thefts from autos are still very much an issue, so make sure you remove valuables and lock your doors, and if you see something, say something,” said Nothelfer.
“Lock It or Lose It” is a collaboration between the STPD and two local sponsors: insurance agency Saginaw Bay Underwriters and Frankenmuth Insurance, companies that have served the area for more than 150 years each.
“This program helps keep people and their property safer, and helps reduce insurance rates,” said Saginaw Bay Underwriters President/CEO Peter N. Ewend.
“We’re excited for ‘Lock It or Lose It’ each year, because we know it benefits the communities in which we all live and work.”
“This program reinforces that we all need to do our part to keep our communities safe, neighbor helping neighbor,” said Frankenmuth Insurance Marketing Director Marcia Merando.
“It really is the partnership between the department, our sponsors and especially our citizens that makes ‘Lock It or Lose It’ work,” said Fredenburg.