Car Thefts On The Rise

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

November 17, 2005

Charlottesville police are trying to figure out the reason behind an increased number of crimes against vehicles this year. For the first 10 months of this year, there has been an increase in both stolen cars, and items stolen from cars.

Arta Walley has seen the results firsthand.

"The neighbors, their car got broken into and then about two weeks ago their shed got broken into," she said.

Charlottesville Police say thieves are breaking into and stealing cars at a growing rate. This year compared to last, thefts from cars is up nearly 75 percent.

"Reports I've seen [say] don't leave an IPOD lying in a car in Charlottesville right now because it's going to be gone," said Lt. Gary Pleasants.

The amount of stolen cars is also on the rise. Those numbers show an increase of nearly 35 percent from last year. Many of those cases happen when people leave keys in the car or the car running, but some are more advanced.

"We've had a lot of cars stolen where the steering columns actually have been broken open. We found some that have been tried and some [that] actually have been accomplished," Pleasants said.

In most instances, thieves like to make little noise. Police say a few simple steps could prevent a problem.

"The easier target the better. So [park in] well lit areas, close to the house and lock them up," said Pleasants.

These are tips Arta Walley takes to heart.

"I get a little nervous need to be alert [with] what you're doing, where you are, who's around you," said Walley.

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