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Police say 90 percent of car break-ins are unlocked vehicles

LANETT — It’s summertime and more people are outside each day and while the sunshine and fresh air are important, it also can lead to crimes of opportunity, such as breaking into vehicles.

Lanett Police Department Patrol Commander Richard Casner said there has been a slight uptick in motor vehicle break-ins lately, but it is normal for the summer.

“There are a few more this time of year than we normally see,” he said. “People need to remember to lock their doors and if there is something of value in there, make sure it is not visible.”

Casner said to take anything of value with you when exiting the vehicle or place it in the trunk.

“And most of all — lock your doors,” he said.

Major Mike Reynolds of the Valley Police Department said a spike in car break-ins is normal for summer but about 99 percent of cars that are broken into are unlocked.

“If people would just take the extra step of locking their cars, that would be a deterrent,” he said.

Reynolds said that he’s heard people say if they lock their cars, people will bust out the windows, but that isn’t the usual case.

“Most of the car break-ins are people looking through the windows and seeing valuables in the car,” he said. “They are usually going through and picking up change, sunglasses and whatever else is there.”

The problem isn’t unique to Chambers County, either. Troup County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Stewart Smith said most car break-ins he sees are from people looking for unlocked doors.

“They are not busting out windows or using Slim Jims to pop locks,” he said. “Although that still does happen, it’s not as common as an unlocked door.”

He said people do a great job of advertising what they have by leaving purses, guns and wads of money visible in the car.

For the past two nights on social media, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office has been reminding residents to lock their car before going to sleep each night. They are reporting about 90 percent of all vehicle break-ins are from the victim leaving their doors unlocked.