Growing number of car break-ins prompts community meetings

Three people were seen walking the streets of NoDa, searching for cars to break into.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police and neighbors across the Charlotte area are calling emergency meetings to address a growing number of car break-ins.

In the first two weeks of November, the city saw more than 300 auto larcenies.

“To think that someone literally was on your property, that close to where you were sleeping at night, is unsettling,” said Beth Johns with the Sedgefield neighborhood homeowners association. “There seems to be a big increase in car break-ins.”

The Sedgefield community is just one of many that has dedicated meetings to the problem.

“The common theme seems to be if your car is unlocked you definitely have your car broken into,” Johns said. “And if it's not you still know that you've had people on your property.”

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There are new posts every day on social media; Facebook, Nextdoor, from people who have experienced it firsthand.

“It seems to be a daily theme, and three or four people chime in that they have been a victim that particular night,” Johns said.

“Our larceny from autos have surpassed her home break-ins it's just because they're easier,” CMPD officer Matthew Montgomery said at the Sedgefield meeting Tuesday night.

He added a big concern is that many of the suspects are juveniles. If they’re caught, police are required to release them back to their parents.

“There's just a big fear and uncertainty factor, an uncomfortableness about being exposed and being taken advantage of at night when you're sleeping,” neighbor Will Johns said.

Most of the break-ins targeted unlocked cars.

But more reports of smashed windows have been coming in, which has neighbors concerned that as the holidays approach, the thieves are getting bolder and more desperate.

“We want to figure out how we can work together as a neighborhood to stop it,” Johns said.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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