Georgia ranks high with vehicle thefts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia ranks high with vehicle thefts

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October 15, 2007

Albany--  It's after 11 p.m.  Do you know where your car is? You may want to check outside. Georgia made a recent top ten list and it's not a good one. The state ranks 7th when it comes to stolen vehicles.

Imagine going outside to your vehicle only to realize that it's gone. "Someone came out and probably scared them off," said Chardae Revere.

It almost happened to Chardae Revere. She was on her way to class but found a hole where her key normally goes. "Somebody tried to break into my car," said Revere.

The near theft is a sign of a trend in Georgia. Her Honda Accord tops the list of The National Crime Information Center's top five stolen cars. Also on the list are the 1997 Ford F-150 and the 1989 Chevy Caprice, older vehicles.

"There has been instances where vehicles are sometimes stolen from areas like this and taken to areas either North or South of here and they're taken to chop shops," said Lt. Tom Jackson with Dougherty County Police.

Jackson says although the county sees it's share of motor vehicle theft, the city sees the most. "Most of the time, the majority of the thefts are crimes opportunity," said Jackson.

In 2006, there were 400 auto thefts in Albany compared to 329 the year before. As of May of this year there were nearly 150 auto thefts. We found a handful of stolen vehicle police reports from just this past weekend.  On one, you see the car was left unlocked with keys inside.

"They will take your car if the opportunity is there for that," said Jackson. Lt. Jackson says you can prevent it from happening to you. You just have to be proactive when it comes to your possessions.

"Keep it in a well lit area. Make sure you lock your car. If it doesn't come with some type of a manufacturer alarm system, put an alarm on it," said Jackson.

Chardae now heeds those lessons daily even though her car wasn't stolen. "Now I make sure all my doors are locked," said Revere.

She considers herself one of the lucky ones. "Luckily they didn't get in," said Revere. And she hopes it stays that way.

Other prevention tips include never leaving valuables in clear sight and never leaving a spare key in your car.