Valdosta Daily Times

February 23, 2013

Car break-ins on the rise

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Police Department is issuing a warning to city residents that the theft of items in vehicles is on the rise.

The thefts are not necessarily a “break-in,” since police are finding that many of the vehicles were left unlocked by their owners.

“We are seeing a lot of vehicles being entered and items stolen,” said VPD Commander Brian Childress. “People are leaving their cars unlocked when they go home at night, and leaving high-value items in plain view, creating an attractive opportunity for someone to break in.”

Childress said most of the thefts are occurring in the Valdosta State University and Cherry Creek areas, but can happen anywhere that thieves think there is an opportunity.

Among the items stolen that have been left in vehicles are wallets, GPS units, guns, and laptops.

“You need to take these items inside your home if you can,” Childress said. “If you can’t, then at least put them in the trunk so they can’t be seen.”

Valdosta police are actively working these cases, but need help from citizens as well.

“We are hearing secondhand that some victims haven’t called the police department to file a report. It’s essential that you do so if you have been robbed,” Childress said. “Our property crimes unit investigates these cases and they use the statistics gathered from the reports to try and catch the thieves by detecting patterns, using surveillance cameras, etc.”

Besides the warning to take valuables inside at night, Childress said even more importantly is for citizens to lock their car doors.

“Even if it’s at your own home, always lock your car doors. It makes it much more difficult for thieves and decreases your chances of becoming a victim,” he said.