MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- The Mooresville Police Department has produced a 38-second public service announcement, which they hope will bring attention to a growing problem-- and it’s getting attention.
At the start of the video, a woman arrives home and parks her car, but as she’s getting out she places a sign on her windshield which reads, “Car is unlocked. Valuables inside. Help yourself.” She then draws a smiley face before walking inside.
“Hopefully folks will understand the true meaning behind that. It is a little comical, but at the same time it’s very poignant to what’s been happening,” said Major Childress with the Mooresville Police Department.
Already this year, Childress says Mooresville has seen 335 car break-ins, which he says is a significant increase over the 203 vehicles broken into for all of 2015.
“Can’t really tell you why other than that it’s an easy crime to commit,” says Major Childress.
An easy crime to commit because he says people are leaving their doors unlocked, including when cars are parked at home.
“Home is supposed to be the home base, you feel safe and secure there. But it’s also sometimes a false sense of security because we can be victims at our homes just like we're victims at businesses,” says Major Childress.
But he says a majority of the car break-ins are when cars are parked at homes, saying criminals walk around neighborhoods in the overnight hours when there’s relatively no one out and go driveway to driveway preying on cars that are unlocked. He says sometimes they just get away with change, other times it's more serious.
For example, Childress says some victims have reported that their firearms were stolen.
“Which is really concerning to us because we don’t want those firearms out -- especially with criminals, in the hands of criminals,” says Major Childress.
He also says that many times victims won’t even know they’ve been robbed until days later because since the doors were unlocked, there isn’t any damage to the car.
He says in addition to locking car doors, the Mooresville Police Department is also reminding people that if you have to leave valuables in the car, hide them. They say if you’re going somewhere such as the gym or a park and know you won’t need your purse, hide it before you get there, as sometimes there could be people in the parking lot watching.
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