GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro Police say incidents of breaking-and-entering into cars and homes are on the rise for the year.
They said there have been 139 reports of car break-ins since May 16 and 130 home break-ins in just the past three weeks alone.
"They took the TV, they took the VCR the game for my son and all the games, all my jewelry," said Consuela Neri. Her home on Thornton Court in Greensboro was burglarized on Sunday, according to a police report. Neri said it happened between 1 and 4 pm when she had left home for church. She said she was certain she locked all her doors but believes they came in through the back door.
"That one was a little bit weak so they can push fast and hard and they open," she said.
She has since fixed that with new locks and additional bolts and is considering getting a video surveillance system.
Greensboro Police Community Resource Officer Greg Kiser made an impassioned appeal to citizens via the Nextdoor App to take responsibility for keeping their property safe.
"Greetings, if you are reading this, you are a member of Nextdoor in one of the many communities in GPD District 3. I am reaching out to you today to ask a favor. We here at the Greensboro Police Department have been getting very frustrated as we have been tracking a series of auto-related crimes across the district. We have upped patrols and sent out specific notifications to many of the affected areas but we are still not having the desired effect on the crimes. To put this in perspective, since May 16th of this year, we have seen 139 reported larceny from autos at a rate of 4.1 incidents a day, and 40 auto thefts at a rate of 1.2 a day. These numbers are much higher than we would expect them to be. The common thread with the victims is that they are leaving doors unlocked, windows down, and in many cases spare keys in their cars. If we can get people to quit doing this, we will see an immediate drop in the frequency of this crime. Please don't donate your personal property to criminal activity. Lock your stuff up, and keep your valuables out of sight. Most importantly, don't leave the keys to your car inside the car to be used to take your car. As always report any suspicious activity at once by calling 911! Thank you, and spread the word to your neighbors so that we can get this spike under control as soon as possible."
Police blame the spike in break-ins on the time of year as many families are away on vacation and school is out leaving many teens unengaged.
Kiser says people are making it easy for thieves to get to their stuff.
"They go ahead and open the door, they get the change while they are in there they start to rifle through things they find other things like your iPod, they find cash, wallets, pocketbooks, laptops, firearms and in some cases key to the car. Yes, some people do keep spare keys in their cars. please don't do that, folks," pleaded Kiser.
He also shared some tips to keep in mind.
Police say always remove your guns and other valuables from your car and lock up.
You can set a 9 p.m. reminder to lock all doors and windows in both your car and home.