Auto Burglary: Tallahassee’s Million-Dollar Problem

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By: Bailey Myers
June 19, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - It's a million dollar business here in Tallahassee and it's costing you money... That million dollar business? Car burglaries.

Reporter: "Can I ask you why you cracked your windows just a little bit?"

Tallahassee resident, Dale Jensen: "Just so it's not so hot when I get back in. I'm just here for about ten minutes that's all."

His first mistake.
Cracking the window.

Public Information Officer for the Tallahassee Police Department, Dave Northway, : "We do see an increase in auto burglaries during the summer months simply because of the heat people tend to leave their windows down they forget that that window is down. Maybe on the passenger side. They get out of the car. They go into the store really quick and they come back out and someone has reached in the window grabbed their purse and ran away."

It just takes a few minutes for someone to get inside your unlocked car and go through the glove compartment grabbing anything handy and that could also mean getting ahold of your identity.

Car burglaries add up to a total of roughly a million dollars in theft a year.

To stop yourself from becoming a victim, the Tallahassee police department suggests first of all locking your car.
Making sure all valuables are well hidden, and lastly making sure all your windows are rolled up. TPD hopes people will think twice before leaving their car.

Reporter: "Are you going to start rolling up your windows?"

Tallahassee resident, Dale Jensen: "I'm going to even on hot days. Yes."

It's not where you park your car but how much of a target you make your car, by leaving things out like a GPS or a cell phone.
A theft could start by just walking by cars in a full parking lot and checking to see which one is unlocked.

Press Release: Tallahassee Police Department

Auto Burglary is considered a crime of opportunity.

Who provides the burglar with the opportunity?
The victim provides the burglar with the opportunity by leaving their vehicle unlocked or their window open. Most property stolen is left in plain view where anyone walking by the car can see it lying there.

What are their favorite targets?
Anything of value. The property most preferred is cash or loose change that is left in the console or ashtray of the vehicle. They also like CD’s, wallets, purses, cellular phones, radar detectors, radios, speakers, and cassette tapes.

When do auto burglaries occur?
Most auto burglaries occur at night while the vehicle is parked outside the victim’s residence. Some burglars also target vehicles that are parked in parking lots while their owners are at work, in class, or shopping. They know it’s going to be a long time before the owner returns to their car and the likelihood of being caught is low.

What can I do to keep from being the victim of an auto burglary?
Park your car in a garage or parking lot that is supervised by an attendant. Park your car in well-lit areas away from places of concealment, such as alleys and behind bushes. Close your windows and lock your doors. Never hide a key in one of those magnetic key boxes, because if you can find it, so can a burglar. Take your valuables with you when you leave your car or lock them in the trunk out of sight.

What should I do if I find my car has been burglarized?
Report anyone that is seen trying door handles, looking in cars or loitering in the parking lot. If the burglary is in progress Call 911. They call taker will ask you who you are and where you are calling from. Then they will ask you to describe the suspect (race, sex, height, weight and clothing description). If the burglary has already occurred Call TPD’s non-emergency number at 891-4200. Do not get inside of the car to see what’s missing because you may be destroying evidence needed to catch the burglar.

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