Initiative to curb car break-ins leads to more than 20 arrests

Officials with the DeKalb County Police Department said a monthlong countywide initiative to combat the rise of breaking-and-entering cars and stolen vehicles has led to the arrest of more than 20 people.

On Aug. 24, police stated that while working with “many units and other agencies,” a total of 22 arrests were made during the initiative.

Since the beginning of the specific countywide investigation into vehicle break-ins and thefts, police said 25 stolen vehicles and 11 stolen guns were recovered while 44 cases involving vehicle-related theft and crime were cleared.

While violent crime has been trending down in and around metro Atlanta, theft (particularly car break-ins and stolen vehicles) has been increasing in the past three years, according to multiple law enforcement agencies.

Locally, police have hosted events giving away car theft prevention devices as well as providing tips to try and prevent car break-ins, including:

  • Leave any items home that might be attractive to thieves.
  • Put items attractive to thieves in a car’s trunk before arriving at a destination. (Putting the items in the trunk while at a parking spot can tip off a thief, stated police.)
  • Never leave anything visible inside the vehicle – “this is the single most important thing car owners can do to prevent a car window from being smashed and your valuables stolen,” stated police.
  • Always take out handbags, purses, wallets, cell phones, guns, packages, laptops and laptop cases, gym bags, and briefcases.
  • Put away chargers even when electronics are hidden. “If the thief sees the charger, he’ll break into the car on the assumption that the device is hidden under a seat, in an interior compartment, or inside a trunk,” said police.
  • Never leave loose change in the vehicle, especially in a visible place.
  • Park in a well-lit location with large amounts of foot traffic. Avoid parking on an isolated side street.
  • Park in a parking lot that has an attendant.
  • Roll up car windows all the way and lock doors.

Police are also asking that anyone who witnesses a car break-in and/or theft of a vehicle do the following:

  • Call 911.
  • When talking to the dispatcher, try to give as much information as possible, specifically location of the incident, address, cross streets, or specific location inside a parking lot.
  • Provide as much information as possible, such as sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color and length, color and length of facial hair, colors and style of clothing, identifying marks such as tattoos or piercings of the suspect.
  • Give the direction of travel if the thief flees. If the thief flees in a vehicle, give the description of the vehicle, and attempt to provide a license plate.
  • Never risk personal safety by trying to stop a break-in, carjacking, or theft of a vehicle.

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