At least 16 more car break-ins have been reported in West Hartford just one week after the police department began warning residents about the crimes. And almost 300 break-ins have been reported in the city this year alone.
Residents in several West Hartford neighborhoods were warned to lock their car doors after 38 break-ins were reported late at night Sunday, Sept. 9 and early Monday morning Sept. 10 in the Fern Street area including on Auburn, Bretton and Cumberland roads.
In most cases, police said the cars were unlocked at the time of the break-in.
Loose change as well as small electronics such as GPS units, cell phones and iPods were the most common items stolen, police said.
Police have launched a campaign with the slogan, "Like it, Lock it, Keep it" and are asking residents to take the extra time needed to lock their car doors. Residents are also advised not to leave personal property in their cars, especially in plain sight.
There have been 16 additional vehicles broken into, and 12 of those were reported over the weekend, police said.
"It's a little worrisome about your homes and the safety of your family," said Noreen Simmons of Auburn Road. "It's peculiar to me why they're staying in the same area and doing it over and over again."
Simmons said her car was targeted on Saturday night and she even heard her car alarm go off. She ran outside, but found no one near her vehicle.
The next morning, she learned that her car was broken into and that she was not the only resident targeted by car burglars.
Lisa Pesce had a DVD player taken from her car and even got a warning about the burglary when her dog barked.
"It was in the middle of the night and we just shushed him not to wake the children and didn't pay attention so unfortunately," she said. "We weren't aware of what was happening right in the backyard."
Even though she lost her DVD player, Pesce considers herself "lucky."
"No damage was done to the vehicle. In that sense I feel a little lucky," she said. "I feel a little foolish for leaving the car unlocked. It doesn't matter where you live these days. I think you have to be a little more alert and secure of your surroundings."
Police, who are patrolling the Fern Street area in unmarked cars and street clothes, are stressing to residents that vehicles need to be locked and valuables such as GPS units, money and bags need to be out of view for someone looking to commit a crime.
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