GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) - Busy parking lots are apparently creating more opportunities for criminals.
Greenville police say they've seen an uptick in car break-ins in the last few years and say that number typically rises when the weather is warmer.
GPD says there have been nearly 2000 auto break-ins since 2015. Last year, there were 632, and so far this year, there have been 104.
"It takes only a matter of seconds for someone to pull on an unlocked door handle or for someone to pop the window," Detective David Paramore with the Greenville Police Department said.
With this week being Spring Break, local parks have been busier. GPD says there have been six break-ins in the past four days. On Thursday, there was a break-in at Cleveland Park.
"The victim had told us that [she] put [her] pocket book under [her] seat," Paramore said.
However, he says people often leave a strap out or another indication that something is hidden. He also says criminals are often watching people as they pull into parking lots.
"The pitfall that everyone succumbs to is thinking that glass between the door is somehow a safeguard of our vehicle," Paramore said.
He adds that in crowded parking lots it is easy for people to hide in between cars. He also cautions people to have a plan before they even leave their home.
"If it were to take one person, one or two minutes to think about before they left their apartment or house, their work, versus one or two days or one or two months to retrieve or get all of the stuff that they lost...why wouldn't they," Det. Paramore said.
Some people say they do try to make a plan before they get to their destination.
"Bringing my purse wasn't even an option," Lehua Collins, who was visiting Cleveland Park, said. "I took what I needed and put it in my pockets. That doesn't really give someone an option."
GPD says out of the nearly 2000 auto break-ins they investigated, only about 600 of the cars were actually locked.
They say the easiest way to cut down on this type of crime is simply to lock your door and make sure nothing is in sight.
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