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'I felt so vulnerable' | Charlotte woman looking for new apartment after recent burglary

Police offer practical tips to prevent your home from falling victim to thieves.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said violent crime was down in 2022, the overall crime rate was still up. That includes property crimes, such as burglaries, which were up about 8% from 2021.

Already in 2023, some Charlotte residents feel burglaries are taking off.

Andrea Moore showed WCNC Charlotte reporter and anchor Jane Monreal a cell phone video of her south Charlotte apartment, which was ransacked the weekend of Jan. 20, 2023. Moore said the thieves who hit her home had made off with irreplaceable items.

"They stole a wedding band. They stole a necklace, a diamond necklace that I had my grandmother's name engraved on it," she said, noting her grandmother had passed away.

To boot, this was the second time her apartment was broken into.

Moore moved to her unit at Anson At The Lakes in 2022. She was originally planning to transfer to a different apartment within the community but has now changed her plans. 

RELATED: Here's how CMPD is focusing on recruiting new officers while retaining ones already on the force

"After this break-in, I told them I just need to be going out of the entire property," she said.

Moore is not alone, and break-ins like the one she faced aren't just isolated to south Charlotte. CMPD's crime map showed more than 200 commercial or residential burglaries were reported within the last four weeks. Moore also told WCNC Charlotte while she had a doorbell camera set up for the front door, the thieves found another way in.

"They went through the one at the back where it didn't have a Ring camera," she said.

Another thing Moore showed in her video: How dark it was outside of her apartment at night. There are also patrol units in the complex, but she said that didn't help her in this case. And since this is the second time it's happened, Moore said she was shaken.

"This time I felt was the worst. I felt so vulnerable," she said. "This time, I fear for my life. I kept on thinking 'what if I was in the apartment that day.'"

To note, Moore said the apartment community managers said she would not be on the hook for leaving in the middle of her lease. But even still, she's ready to find a new place after she believes she was targeted.

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Ofc. Tim Aycock with the Matthews Police Department provided WCNC Charlotte with some practical tips to help prevent burglaries. While the town of Matthews hasn't seen an uptick in property crimes, Aycock said it doesn't need to take an incident to prompt better security.

"You're going to want to look at outdoor lighting, you're going to want to make sure your shrubbery is trimmed away from the windows where you can see where someone doesn't have the opportunity to hide and use it as a blocking visual device to break into your window or door," he said.

Another idea: Get to know your neighbors and build a connection with them. Even though life can be busy, Aycock said having someone to keep watch when you're out of the house is a big help.

"Have one or two trusted neighbors that you're confident in and let them know when you're going to be out of town, and let them keep an eye on your home," he said.

Additionally, doors should be locked, and Aycock said you're not bothering police if you suspect something is amiss and call 911. If you see something, you're encouraged to say something.

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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