A rash of vehicle break-ins has plagued Alexander City the last two weeks and a lot of it probably could have been avoided.
Police chief Jay Turner said most of the 22 reported break-ins were crimes of opportunity where owners left keys in vehicles or valuables, including handguns, in plain sight.
“People leave things in their vehicles and we continue to stress if you have valuables and you want to keep them in your vehicle, lock them in the trunk,” he said. “Better yet, take them in the house. Put your car in a garage if you have one. Use motion-detector lights or leave your lights on.”
Since April 1, 20 of the 22 reported break-ins were in residential areas, Turner said. In those, about a half-dozen firearms have been stolen along with cash and credit cards.
Turner said he is going to call in off-duty officers to augment regular patrols in the affected areas and keep an eye on possible future targets because the thieves are tipping off authorities they like certain conditions.
“They’re picking neighborhoods that fit their criteria,” Turner said. “The cars are away from the road. You’ve got a long driveway. The cars are behind the house. There are woods. It’s late at night, no lights, little traffic. … Most of these neighborhoods are more relaxed when it comes to security and the criminals can conceal themselves in the dark. (The criminals) basically know there is a bedtime when people go to sleep.”
Turner said police have suspects and vowed, “We’ll put a stop to it.”
Police will need the help of vigilant citizens to do it. Help our officers by taking valuables out of your vehicles and report any suspicious activity.