Fresno Car Burglaries Increase

October 16, 2008 5:39:03 PM PDT
Car break-ins are a growing problem in some parts of Fresno. And tough economic times may be fueling the thefts. In southwest Fresno this year car burglaries have soared more than 40 percent higher than last year. On every block in every neighborhood, someone knows a victim and the police chief says he knows what's fueling the trend.

Cars parked on the street or in apartment complexes are the place Fresno police are finding car burglaries occurring the most.

Glass in the road tells the story of what's all too common in southwest Fresno.

Car burglary victim Vicky Garcia said, "Right now it's really bad. Right now it's really, really bad. They tried to steal this car, but I guess they couldn't, so they just steal."

Car burglaries are up 8 point 1 percent this year citywide. The worst problem is in southwest Fresno where break-ins are up 41.1 percent. They are up 14.4 percent in the southeast part of the city.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer thinks a few factors are influencing the crime spike.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "When you combine all of those issues together, the unemployment, the economy, the addiction to methamphetamine, there's a high potential for us to have an increase in property crimes this year."

Just last night, this van was vandalized in southwest Fresno. Neighbors say they're frustrated to see it happen so often.

Car vandalism victim Laura De La Cruz said, "I don't think its right and they need to get that person that's doing all this damage because that person's not paying all the damage that these other people have to pay for their cars."

Sometimes neighbors say they end up getting to the bottom of the crime themselves when they spot their stolen property.

Vicky Garcia said, "The bad thing is people you know steal from you, you know. And they try to sale it to another one of your friends, and you just happen to see your stereo in somebody else's car."

Fresno police are taking steps to turn the numbers around. Lately they have had success planting bait cars in problem areas. It's proven an effective way to catch thieves in the act.

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