Officials warn residents of recent car break-ins around town
Break-ins are happening in Springfield, many occurring in parking lots when people leave their doors unlocked or windows cracked open.
Silverleaf Children’s Academy said they had to call the police to report a car break-in after one of the parents came to drop off their child and realized someone had gone through their vehicle.
"It happened right in the front, right out there with other cars in the front but when we got the call, we immediately informed parents," Silverleaf Pre-K3 Teacher Ayanna Sortor said.
Officials warn if you leave your car unlocked and step away, it can happen anywhere at any time.
People who steal from cars typically go to check and see if it is open in any way and then quickly look for what they can take.
But many times, it is difficult to know exactly who belongs in what vehicle if they appear to know where they are going. If it is unlocked, it can be easy to act as though it is the person’s car even if it is not.
"There are grandparents and aunts that come and pick up, so you wouldn't think, you know to question," Sortor said.
But having your car broken into and having stuff stolen, can be a shock.
"Having personal items taken from you, it's kind of frightening, knowing it could be your own," Sortor said.
Officials from the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office said these cases become more common as the temperatures get warmer.
"From January, there's a total of 18 until now," Sergeant of Investigations for the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office Rodney Vose said.
In 2017, Springfield had over 1,000 break-ins happening to vehicles.
Due in part to people taking advantage of unlocked car doors.
“It's going to happen. It doesn't matter where you live, eventually somebody is going to come by and try your car door," Vose said.
The Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office said it works with the Springfield Police to make sure they know if there are any patterns of break-ins.
"Our guys are watching parking lots, out in the county, the different shopping centers. We work with the city detectives all the time, sharing information back and forth," Vose said.
While it can be tempting to leave car doors unlocked, especially if it is only for a moment, it can lead to a surprise.
"Purse, GPS, on a dashboard, they're going to try your door and try to get in," Vose said.
As a moment is all it can take for someone to make their move.
Officers remind people to help avoid this happening, to remember some basics such as keeping your valuables hidden as well as keeping your doors locked, even if you are at home.