Kensington Park cracks down on vehicle break-ins - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Lock It or Lose aims to crack down on vehicle break-ins

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

A campaign that's cracking down on crime called Lock It or Lose It. Kensington Park neighborhood has started putting up signs with support from Savannah-Chatham Metro Police as a reminder for neighbors to lock their car doors to prevent break-ins.

The neighborhood has had nearly 20 cars broken into since the beginning of the year because the doors were unlocked. It's a trend that's happening across the entire city and county.

This year, Savannah and unincorporated Chatham County have seen more than 1,100 car break-ins, 40 percent of those happened in plain sight, according to police data.

Last week, police reported 47 cars broken into, 25 of which were unlocked.

But since Kensington Park neighborhood implemented the Lock It or Lose It campaign in June, they have had zero reports of car break-ins.

Now other neighborhoods such as Savannah's Eastside Neighborhood Alliance, are reaching out to the Kensington Park Association and Savannah-Chatham Metro Police wanting to join the campaign. 

"I got an interest on how do we start this, how do we get involved," said Crime Prevention Officer Samantha Stephens. "They are very active and they wanted to be proactive and since they saw that it worked so well in Kensington Park, they wanted to model that."

The campaign and crime-fighting secret was initiated from Kensington Park's Homeowner Association President Pam Miller.

"It really is I think the biggest crime that Savannah sees right now," Miller said. 

Someone broke into Miller's car a couple of months ago as it was parked in her driveway.

"I had just emptied my change jar and I think had somewhere between $60 and $80 worth of change in there. I was so angry," said Miller.  

What made her even more angry; her car was inadvertantly left unlocked.

"They reached in and tore through the car and they were out in two seconds," said Miller.  

She was able to watch it all happen on her home surveillance system. Several of her neighbors became victims, too. So Miller jumped into action, coming up with the Lock or Lose It campaign with the support of police.

"I wanted it to be something that would resonate with people, something they would see and remember," said Miller.

In June, the homeowners association printed 300 of the Lock It or Lose It signs and went door-to-door with 1,000 flyers; simple reminders that worked.

Since then, the neighborhood has not had any reports of car break-ins and now the Kensington Park Association is reaching out to other neighborhoods.

"We will be making these signs available to other neighborhoods that may not have the same resources we do but want to beat crime in their neighborhoods," said Miller.  

Paying it forward, so others can share their success. 

If you would like your neighborhood to get involved, be sure to contact your district's crime prevention officer.

Westside Precinct
Ofc. Brian Harrell
912.652.6573

Downtown Precinct
Ofc. Samantha Stephens
912.651.6990

Central Precinct
Star Cpl. Willet Williams
912.651.6931

Southside Precinct
Cpl. John Simmons
912.351.3400

Islands Precinct
APO Christopher Kersey
912.525.3008

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