Steps businesses can take amidst increase in car break-ins

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 9:55 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In light of recent car break-ins, some businesses may be wondering how they can best protect the cars of their customers and employees from being targeted.

It’s a growing problem all across our area, criminals smashing windows and opening car doors to find and take valuables from car owners.

Investigators say many of these people are searching for one thing.

“Most of the time guns are what criminals are after because they can be immediately exchanged for cash or drugs,” said Calera Police Chief David Hyche.

No matter the motive, car break-ins are becoming more frequent. Chief Hyche says businesses can deter criminals from certain parking lots with extra precautions.

“Lighting is enormously important,” he said. “Good lighting -- it is a deterrent. Criminals don’t want to be seen when they’re doing this sort of thing. They don’t want to be detected.”

He says advanced technology has also made it easier to catch these criminals.

“Camera systems are unbelievably valuable to us as well,” said Chief Hyche. “Even the new tag readers that people have.”

“What the ALPR camera does is it actually takes a still image so just a photo of every vehicle that passes the camera,” said Flock Safety Spokeswoman Holly Beilin. “It’s motion activated.”

Those with Flock Safety say you can find and place these cameras anywhere, such as near stop lights, company parking lots, even neighborhoods and parks.

“An eyewitness says they know there was a white jeep that pulled into a parking lot and they know that someone got out and committed a crime,” Beilin explained. “They’re able to just quickly search for the license plate for all white jeeps in that timeframe, versus looking through hours of surveillance video.”

Chief Hyche said it’s important for business and company owners to stay vigilant in watching their lots.

He said many times, these criminals come in pairs or groups. One person may drive while others and committing the crime. Either way, the chief warns to not approach these people. If you notice something or someone suspicious, call police immediately.

His biggest warnings when drivers are leaving their cars in a lot include locking your doors and not leaving valuables inside your car, especially guns.

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