"I hate to say it, but the days of feeling like you can leave your car doors unlocked are over," Brazil City Police Chief Dave Archer told The Brazil Times. "There are people out there at night who wander around, walking up and down streets, pulling on door handles. If one opens, they get inside and take whatever they can grab."
On May 5, a local resident reported a suspicious person around their vehicle parked outside the house. When officers arrived and approached the vehicle, the male suspect ran away.
While the officers quickly caught up and took the man into custody, Archer said the resident did the right thing by calling the police department.
"Officers are out there patrolling, but we can't see everything," Archer said, and then added, with summer on the way, vehicle entry reports will be on the rise. "In the summer, we are inundated with these types of reports."
Archer said vehicle owners can deter thieves by locking the doors and making sure the windows are up.
"A lot of people believe if they lock the door, it makes their vehicle an easy target for having their windows busted to gain entry. But that's not necessarily true," Archer said.
With more than 100 vehicle entry reports made last summer to the BCPD, Archer said the windows of only three or four vehicles were broken to gain entry.
"Very seldom does a thief break a window," he said. "It makes too much noise and they don't want to have attention brought to what they are doing."
Another tip Archer offered was for vehicle owners to not leave anything of value inside an unlocked vehicle.
"Anything just lying around in plain sight, they will take it," Archer said. "They take things like cell phones and the chargers, CDs, I-pods, loose change, golf clubs and computers. If they think it's valuable and can grab it, they will take it."
Archer said some items that have been reported stolen just shouldn't be left in a vehicle.
"We've received reports of checkbooks, purses and wallets being stolen out of cars," he said.
While other items being taken from vehicles by some thieves are signal of potentially new unusual trends in a familiar crime.
"There are also thieves who take registration papers out of glove boxes," Archer said. "With identity theft being so prevalent, people need to consider locking their glove boxes if it has a one."
Archer said vehicle entry crime is one that vehicle owners can take a very proactive stance to not become a victim.
"Really it's all about using your common sense," Archer said. "If you like your personal property, then don't leave it laying around in an unlocked car for others to take. A little bit of preventative medicine, like locking your car doors and taking the keys out, can save you a whole lot of heartache."
To report suspicious or unusual activity or report a vehicle entry in Brazil, contact the Brazil City Police at 446-2211. To report the same type of incidents in areas outside of Brazil City limits, contact the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 446-2535.