Thursday, July 24 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:14:49 GMT
Lee County residents voiced their displeasure with a potential property tax hike Thursday evening.More >>
Lee County residents voiced their displeasure with a potential property tax hike Thursday evening. More >>
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Auto thefts and break-ins are on the rise. The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office said it's part of a national trend they see every summer, but there are some simple things you can do to protect your property.
Investigators said common sense will prevent many break-ins. Things like parking in well lit areas, and removing valuables from your car.
Just a quick yank on the handle is all it takes for a criminal to access your personal items. And with summer in full swing, car break-ins are becoming more common.
"There's been a rise pretty much throughout the county, and I'm sure the city and county police will tell you the same thing in entering autos," said Cpt. Craig Dodd, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.
Albany Police reported multiple car break-ins over the last few days. And law enforcement has advice on how to avoid becoming a victim.
"So you need to make sure your doors are locked. You need to also make sure that you don't leave anything of value in your car. Many people have a tendency to leave wallets, they'll leave purses, they'll leave credit cards." Dodd said.
But something as simple as a small circular ring on the windshield may actually be welcoming criminals.
"They may be looking for GPS systems, which are not cheap, and they can very quickly sell. They look for those suction cup marks. And if they're there, chances are you've taken the whole thing down, stuck it underneath the seat," said Dodd.
And once they're in your car, he said they'll look anything they can find.
"A lot of people leave handguns in the console, under the seat, in the pocket by the door where they would normally carry them," he said. "Of course we don't want any handguns to fall into the hands of kids or juveniles or where they may end up in the hands of gang members in the area."
He said many of the thieves aren't professionals, they're kids on summer break.
"You know, they're not out jimmying doors, or cracking window and what have you. They're looking for that easy, go on in and find what you can find situation," he said.
Dodd said people should take the time to wipe off suction cup marks to discourage criminals from breaking into your car. He also said the harder you make it for a criminal, the less likely you'll be a target.
Dodd said wealthier neighborhoods attracts thieves. He urged residents in those areas to be especially careful.
Dodd also said most car break-ins in residential areas happen between midnight and 4 a-am. He advises you to park in a garage or carport if you can and call 911 if you see anything suspicious.