There is a growing number of car burglaries happening around unincorporated areas of Hamilton County, the Sheriff's Office said. Investigator Brevin Cameron said the most important step people can take in preventing any more burglaries is simply to lock their car when not inside it.
“A lot of these crimes occur, it’s not vehicles getting windows smashed,” Investigator Cameron said. “It’s criminals walking up and trying to find low-hanging fruit, that unlocked vehicle they can open and be in and out of in a minute or thirty seconds or less.”
He said that even if a person hides their valuables or guns somewhere in the car, that will not stop someone from looking through their unlocked vehicle.
He said if a burglar sees a jacket spread out over something, that signals that something else is being hidden.
“It’s happening across the area,” the detective said. “The biggest thing is locking your vehicle and removing valuables from your vehicle. Simply hiding them doesn’t stop criminals though.”
Aside from locking car doors, he said security cameras and alarm systems are great deterrents to burglars. In addition to this, he said people should write down serial numbers for any valuable items like firearms and yard equipment and phones..
He repeatedly stressed the importance of securing firearms, telling media there have been over a dozen firearms stolen from vehicles since August. There have been a total of 85 reported break ins.
“Thirteen firearms have been stolen in the unincorporated areas of Hamilton County since August, and they’ve been primarily out of unsecured vehicles,” investigator Cameron said. “As a firearm owner, you want to secure it.”
He did say the increase in crime is somewhat expected, as every year crime increases in the warm summer months. He also said crime generally spikes whenever schools go on break in the fall, and last week was Hamilton County’s fall break.
While burglars often work in groups, he said there is no one demographic or age-group that is common among those suspected of these robberies.
“What we’re seeing is that there will be these groups of individuals who come through and try to open doors and rummage through vehicles and take anything of value out,” investigator Cameron said. “They are targeting firearms, and that seems like a trend. A lot of times they’ll leave things like laptops. They’re more like mass-harvesting items of value.”
Lastly, the investigator said that stolen firearms are often used in crimes. He said “It’s no secret that crime across America has increased lately. Typically, when a crime occurs, that firearm is a stolen weapon. That’s how a lot of these criminals are acquiring weapons, through the black market trade of firearms.”