EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - It's a crime that's on the rise and the Howell neighborhood in Evansville has been the latest target of car thieves.
So, what are the thieves after and how can you prevent this from happening to you?
Crime prevention officers said the amount of car break-ins is already on pace to surpass last years numbers.
Why so staggering?
Well, Evansville police think it has a lot to do with the economy and the more people get desperate, the more likely they're going to be to commit property crimes like breaking into your car.
The Howell neighborhood on Evansville's west side has been a hot spot for crime the past couple of days with Evansville police investigating nine different car break-ins.
"Sometime in the middle of the night and items were removed," EPD Sgt. Jason Cullum said. "They've come out the next morning and find out windows broken or doors left open and their stuff is gone."
Cullum said the Howell neighborhood isn't alone.
City-wide since January 1, he said there have been 140 reported thefts from vehicles.
"That is a lot," Cullum said. It's a crime that anyone can do. That's the problem with it. We can arrest ten people today and ten more people will do it."
But Sgt. Cullum said thieves aren't just breaking into any parked car.
"They're looking in the car before they even get in it and if they see something they want that's when they go ahead and break the window or open the door if it's unlocked," Cullum said.
So what are thieves getting away with when they break into your car?
Well, cops said there are four main things they're looking for.
The first is the woman's purse filled with credit cards and money.
Next, there are cell phones and ipods.
A lot of people have them and a lot of people accidentally leave them in their car.
Then, there is one a lot of people have stuck to their windshield all the time.
It's a portable GPS unit.
Another big ticket item is laptop computers left inside cases, sitting on the seat, inside the car.
"Please take your stuff and put it where people don't see it," Cullum said. "It just takes a second to put it back in the car in the morning. For every car that's broken into, there are countless other cars these suspects pass up on because there is nothing in there for them to take."
Police said numerous break-ins have also happened to cars parked in the Roberts Stadium parking lot and several local gyms, so they caution you don't put important items in your trunk because people may be watching.
Over the last two weeks they've actually been able to arrest five different suspects related to car break-ins.
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