Champaign Police Reminds Public to Secure Vehicles

The Champaign Police Department is currently investigating multiple cases involving vehicles being stolen from public streets and residential areas.

In September, Champaign Police received 31 reports of stolen vehicles citywide, with 10 occurring on the University of Illinois’ campus or in the nearby area. In the majority of the vehicle thefts, it is believed the vehicle was left parked, unattended, and running or keys were left inside the vehicle.

“These are largely crimes of opportunity,” said Investigations Lieutenant Matthew Henson. “An unlocked, running car is an open invitation to thieves. It is important to remember that by taking a few simple precautions you can greatly reduce the risk of becoming an auto theft victim. When you park your car, make it difficult for anyone that may desire to take your car or property by turning it off, locking it and taking your keys with you – even if you are simply taking a brief moment to run inside to grab a to-go order.”

Although Champaign Police have made two recent arrests in connection to vehicle thefts, crimes of opportunity are not typically limited to just one individual. Residents are encouraged to always remain aware of their surroundings and to use sound crime prevention techniques, such as reporting any suspicious activity you may have witnessed and to always keep your vehicles secured. Additional vehicle theft and burglary prevention tips are provided below.

  • Lock your doors, even if you only plan to be gone for a short amount of time. Thieves have been known to walk down a row of parked vehicles and check vehicle doors to see if they are unlocked.
  • Never leave keys with the vehicle. Do not leave a spare key in or under your car.
  • Put packages or valuables out of sight. Lock them in the trunk and always remove them once home.
  • Park in a public place with plenty of light.
  • Keep your license and registration in your wallet or purse. If stolen with your car, thieves can use them to impersonate you and sell your car.
  • Be alert and trust your instincts. If it does not feel right, it probably is not.


Victims of stolen vehicles should immediately call 9-1-1 to make a report. Anyone with information on vehicle thefts is encouraged to contact the Champaign Police Department at 217-351-4545. Witnesses wishing to remain anonymous may also submit tips to Crime Stoppers by phone at: 217-373-8477 (TIPS); online at; or the “P3 Tips” mobile app.