The Union Recorder

October 3, 2013

Police flooded with entering autos

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Exposed personal items such as electronics, firearms and power tools inside parked vehicles or leaving doors unlocked contributed to most of this year's 141 entering auto cases, according to the Milledgeville Police Department.

Maj. Reggie Hill, MPD's chief investigator, noticed the scary city trend. Hill said the crimes aren't saturated in any one area.

“The way it's getting done now. We are just getting hit city wide,” Hill said. “I'd say over 98 percent of the entering autos we have or more is coming from people not locking their car doors.”

Not locking up and/or leaving items visible on seats or interior dashes contribute to the mountain of cases. 

“You'd be amazed at how many people leave a loaded firearm in their vehicle and not lock it,” the chief investigator said.

Hill said MPD wants city residents aware of the dos and don'ts to becoming a victim.

“People are fast paced these days and get kind of forgetful. That forgetfulness makes you a victim,” Hill said. “Take the time to stop and think about what you are doing before you leave your vehicle.”

Criminals like a fast and easy target. Nine times of 10 a thief will keep going if they have to work at it, according to MPD.

“It's better known on the street as licking. When they check those car doors and it's unlocked, it's a field day,” Hill said.

City police are greatly impacted. MPD deals with thefts on a day-to-day basis.

Hill said his investigators feel the pressure when someone says 'I need you to find my stuff.'

Almost 150 entering auto reports open law enforcement eyes, but Hill shutters to think how many have occurred in all of Baldwin County.

“(The county) gets hit just as bad as we do,” he said. 

Police Chief Dray Swicord is concerned with the car theft problem this year.

The city needs a solution. 

Awareness can go a long way in reducing these momentous crime statistics.

“Take the time to look back into your vehicle and say I have nothing in here of value, everything is locked away and my vehicle is locked,” Hill said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time you won't be a victim that way.”

MPD suggests recording a list of valuable items including serial number and photos.

If items do get stolen, these records make the police's job much easier.

“We have a lot of things we recover from time to time that we can never find the owner for because we don't have serial numbers done at the time of the report nor have they ever made it to us,” Hill said.

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