SCMPD sees spike in auto break-ins - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCMPD sees spike in auto break-ins

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Following a recent spike in auto break-ins, preventive measures are encouraged by Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police in hopes of cutting entering auto cases throughout the jurisdiction.

SCMPD opened approximately 230 entering auto cases from Aug. 23 to Sept. 23. Typically, more than 80 percent of SCMPD’s entering auto investigations have no obvious signs of forced entry.

On Wednesday, while reviewing last week’s crimes in SCMPD’s CompStat meeting, one precinct reported 17 entering auto cases. Vehicles were left unlocked in 15 of those cases. In two of the cases, valuables were left in plain sight, resulting in the theft of a firearm.  

“Our current numbers are indeed high,” said SCMPD Chief Joseph H. Lumpkin, Sr. “The police and our citizens can and should work together to bring those numbers down. The first step should be to properly secure our vehicles as well as our valuables. We also should encourage friends and family to do the same. Secondly, if you see suspicious activity report it immediately.”

"Criminals are shopping victims, and criminals have to be smart enough to cut them off,"
said Cpl. Samantha Stephens. "If you do not give them a reason to break in, there is no need to worry about them wanting to break in.”

During entering auto investigations, detectives are often advised of suspicious persons and activities days after crimes occur. Chief Lumpkin urges citizens to be prompt in reporting suspicious activity and applies the Department of Homeland Security’s, “If you see something, say something” concept to local crime.

“A large majority of times, those stolen cars are used in other crimes. Robberies, other car thefts," said CPL. Stephens.

Jermaine Malone’s truck was stolen Thursday morning in Bradley Pointe.

“It just randomly happened, you know, things you think could never happen to you and out of the blue it happens," said Malone. "They just so happened to find the keys to my personal truck in my work truck. Just to have someone take it from you it is just something really you can't swallow."

SCMPD encourages the following steps for making vehicles less appealing to thieves:

  • Lock your vehicles at all times.
  • Upon exiting, remove valuables or hide them in the trunk before reaching your final destination.
  • Never leave keys in the vehicle. Spare keys to vehicles, residences, businesses, storage facilities, etc. may give criminals the opportunity to commit multiple crimes at a victim’s expense.
  • At night, park in highly illuminated locations that offer the best line of sight from your residence.
  • Never leave cash in vehicles.
  • Maintain records of serial numbers and other identifying markings on valuables stored in vehicles.
  • Call police immediately if anything or anyone seems suspicious.
  • “If you see something, say something.”

Contact any SCMPD Crime Prevention Officer for more information on maximizing vehicle security.

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