Albany Police are urging residents to take valuables out of vehicles and to lock car doors. They say people stealing from unlocked cars has been a big problem for months.
Jacqueline Whigham said it was not a good start to her morning when she found the passenger window of her 2008 Pontiac smashed, and a purse missing.
"I looked around and I seen other people in my neighborhood's windows were smashed out," said Whigham.
At least 15 other people within a half-mile radius of her East Albany apartment complex reported belongings stolen from cars. Most of them were stolen after car windows were broken. In recent months entering autos has been a big crime issue across Albany, but most of the victims were people who left their doors unlocked.
"The number of windows being broken in these types of break-ins is increasing, but we have to look at all the factors," said Albany Police Media Manager Phyllis Banks
Whigham says many of her neighbors have heard rumors this was a gang initiation, but she just knows it hurts.
"I'm very upset, because my insurance deductable is not going to cover it," said Whigham. "So it has to come out of my pocket."
Police say the best way to protect your car and valuables is following their clean car campaign: lock your doors, and don't leave expensive items inside.
"iPads, iPods, the tablets," said Banks. "If they would just clean that stuff out of their cars before they leave them, maybe that would defer their chances of becoming a victim."
Whigham said she hopes to organize with her neighbors.
"I think we should get some type of neighborhood watch, especially in this area." she said.
At least 6 more entering autos cases were reported to Police, as thieves continue to look to cars as easy targets.