Car break-ins have increased over the last few weeks in Columbia which the police chief said is pretty common this time of year.
Columbia Police Chief Clint McMurry said most auto burglaries are crimes of opportunity. Often people just forget to lock their cars. Around the holidays with guests visiting bad guys know there may be presents or other valuables left in cars.
There are some simple, common sense tips to abide by.
- Always secure, hide, or remove valuable items like electronics, wallets, fire arms, gifts, etc. from the car before going inside. Thieves are looking for small, expensive items they can grab quickly.
- Double check to see if all car doors are locked. Often thieves will just move on from a locked vehicle that doesn't have valuables in plain sight.
- If suspicious or out-of-the ordinary people are wandering around a neighborhood they don't live in, it should be reported. Often it is after a night where several cars have been broken into that people remember suspicious individuals in an area.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. If you park in an area with dim lighting and there is a street lamp right up the street consider parking there.
- For those traveling during the holidays make every effort to appear as if you were home. Leave a few lights on. Have neighbors pick up the mail and newspaper. Leave the yard appearing well attended to.