Authorities say car break-ins happen somewhere in the Lowcountry every day, and in the city of Charleston, the number has increased every year for the last decade.
“Break-ins,” though, may not be the best description of all those crimes. Police say often, the cars are unlocked, and criminals simply open the door.
“80-90 percent of the time, these criminals are pulling door handles,” says Sgt. Trevor Shelor with the Charleston Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit.
When the door comes open and the criminals get their hands on the items inside, it’s one particular thing crooks may steal that has police on high alert: guns
“This year to date just through July we’re at 80 guns stolen out of cars so far in 2017 and half of those are listed as unlocked vehicles,” Shelor says.
Shelor says that’s 10 more than last year.
“The bottom line is the good person who owned a gun has now armed a criminal,” Shelor says.
Shelor says it’s preventable by locking up your car, and using your head.
“If you’re a gun owner and you take your gun with you in your car places, simply be responsible and bring it inside at night,” Shelor says.
If a theft does happen, even if it’s something minor, Shelor says always report it, because odds are if someone targeted your car, they targeted your neighbors’ as well.
“The chances of getting prints off one or two cars is only a little bit, but if you can dust 10 cars, there’s a lot better chance of prints or seeing someone’s camera on their house to try and catch the culprit,” Shelor said. “We need everyone, no matter how small, to at least let us know that it happened.”