Car Break-Ins on Rise in S.P.
Southern Pines police are stepping up their efforts to stop a rash of vehicle break-ins.
Last month, police officers handled 23 incidents involving items being stolen from vehicles.
One of the favorite spots for the break-ins has been Reservoir Park. At least four incidents have occurred at the park, which is a popular spot for runners and walkers.
"We have officers regularly out there, and an investigator out there as well," Lt. Rodney Hardy said when asked about the measures the department was taking to curb the break-ins at the park.
The department has also posted fliers around the park warning users to take steps to protect themselves.
The fliers advise people never to leave any valuable items visible in a locked or unlocked vehicle, including GPS devices, cell phones, audio systems, cameras, computers, packages and purses. People are urged to leave their valuables at home or lock them in the trunk of their cars.
"We want people to take a step back and say, 'What can I do to make it harder for someone to get what I have?'" Hardy said. "I know it may take some extra time, but those few minutes could prevent someone from being a victim."
According to police reports, the most common items taken from cars during the break-ins have been GPS devices, cell phones and cell phone chargers, computers, money, and wallets and or purses. Other items that have been swiped include sunglasses, a digital camera, CDs, perfume, credit cards, drivers' licenses and other forms of identification, and a watch.
Hardy said GPS devices are hot commodities these days, along with cell phones, wallets and purses.
"Anything that would be likely to store personal information on it," Hardy said.
Hardy called the car break-ins and thefts crimes of opportunity. He added that when the weather warms up, people sometimes get careless about leaving their windows down and their vehicles unlocked, especially if they are running errands and will be away from their car for a few minutes.
"We've seen a lot of windows smashed, but we also have had a lot of vehicles left unlocked," he said. "The No. 1 thing people need to do is pay attention to their surroundings and not take anything for granted."
Residents are also encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, park in well-lit areas and always report suspicious behavior to the police, by calling (910) 692-2731.
Contact Tom Embrey by e-mail at email@example.com.
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