SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Sylacauga Police Chief Kelley Johnson says car break-ins are a constant problem in and around the city.
Johnson told SylacaugaNews.com, his department receives around 500 calls per year dealing with breaking and entering into a vehicle. “Car break-ins are one of the most common crimes in our area,” stated Johnson. “Its not just us, these things happen countywide, statewide and everywhere.”
These criminals are cunning according to Johnson. He said burglars have even falsely reported a fire to an fire department to lure everyone from the station so they could break in all of their vehicles.
While break-ins are an issue, Johnson said the bigger issue is what the people are not doing to prevent these crimes. He said many criminals are able to simply open the doors of vehicles because the owners forget to lock the doors. Johnson said many of these crimes will happen in a large parking lot where the criminals can go door-to-door shaking door handles until they find an unlocked vehicle. He called it a “crime of opportunity” meaning if you give the criminals an opportunity they will take it.
Items routinely taken according to Johnson are loose change, car chargers, purses, wallets and even weapons. Johnson said it is truly amazing to see how many people actually leave those valuable items such as purses, backpacks with electronics, wallets guns and more laying in plain sight in their vehicles. He said your car will be broken into if the items have value.
Solving these crimes is a very difficult process for police. The reason being there is no physical evidence left when the doors are opened with little or no resistance. Johnson said unless a gun or some other stolen property is recovered his department will probably never get to the bottom of the crime.
So what are some ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim to one of these crimes? Here are some tips from Chief Johnson:
- It may seem obvious to some but: always lock your doors. Johnson said you are creating the opportunity for someone to break into your vehicle if you leave your doors unlocked.
- Never leave anything of value in your vehicle, especially in plain sight. Johnson warned of the dangers of leaving items worth large sums of cash in your car. Damage may occur to your vehicle if the item is worth enough money. He said criminals normally will not knock out a window for spare change, but they will go to extra measures if they items they see are worth the risk.
- If you have to leave something of value in your vehicle hide it or put it in the trunk.
Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.