March 22, 2009
by wade h. leonard
As the summer months approach, the Columbus Police Department is seeing more and more reports of car burglaries.
"It''s a problem," said Capt. Fred Shelton. "It''s all over town, it''s not concentrated in one specific area."
In 2008, the CPD had 143 reports of auto burglaries. Since the beginning of the year, 40 have been reported. However, since many auto burglaries never get reported to police, it is impossible to know how many have actually taken place.
According to Shelton, auto burglaries are crimes of opportunity, which means a little common sense and a little cooperation can save a lot of hassle in the long run.
"Make sure when you leave a vehicle you leave it locked, take all valuables out of the vehicle, if you can''t take them out store them in the trunk, park the vehicle in a well-lighted area, and if you see anything suspicious call the police department," said Shelton.
No matter how insignificant the burglary might appear, Shelton urges anyone who has been a victim to report the incident.
"Even if it was a cheap camera or a couple dollars stolen, please report it," he said. "We might be able to pull a print off the car and match it to another case. Sometimes when we catch one person he may have committed five or six other burglaries. So, with that one individual we''re able to solve five or six cases."
Most burglaries occur between dusk and dawn, and most are committed by juveniles.
Shelton admitted the recovery rate for items stolen from cars is low, but the department is planning a new program to hopefully return more stolen goods to their rightful owners.
"What we are going to do in the future is start a lost and found for recovered items," said Shelton. "We''re going to advertise to the public the items we do recover, and we''ll work with the public if they think an item we have belongs to them."