Spartanburg Police say locking and hiding valuables is not stopping some criminals from using force to break into cars.
Major Art Littlejohn tells 7News detectives have identified several car break-ins “hot spots” in the city.
Littlejohn says most are happening at apartment complexes. But he says criminals are also targetting cars at parks and city trails including the busy Mary Black Rail Trail.
Since March, Major Littlejohn says 55 unlocked cars were broken into. In 16 cases force was used.
“On the Rail Trail we have found that some windows are broken out,” Littlejohn told 7News.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to Laura Brown. She tells 7News in April she took her pup to the Rail Trail Dog Park and discovered the car next to hers had a busted window. That’s when she tried to track down the owner of the minivan.
“There was a woman with 2 little children under 5. I said was the window broken when you came and she said no,” Brown said. “She said [to me] ‘oh my goodness I left my wallet under a towel.'”
Detectives have a theory on why this may be happening, although it hasn’t been proven.
“We don’t know if there’s a person who sits and watches people leave their cars or leave them unlocked or put valuables under the seat,” Littlejohn told 7News.
Officers say the car break-ins shouldn’t alarm the community, which doesn’t seem to be a problem.
“Stuff like that is not going to keep me from coming out to places like this,” said Kevin Allen.
“Do you enjoy this area?” Asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman.
“Oh yes, it’s really nice.” Norman Mullen said.
Still, there’s been talk recently to make the Rail Trail safer for families, since it’s about to undergo a 3.5 miles expansion.
“One conversation is having more public safety,” said Laura Ringo, the Executive Director for Partners for Active Living. “[Police] already ride the trail frequently on bicycles, but increasing the number of times that happens.”
Police records show between March 2018 – June 2018 there were 106 car break-ins. From March 2019 to June 2019 there have been 79 car break-ins.
Major Littlejohn says the best thing to do is leave your valuables at home or lock them in the trunk of your car.