Increased Car Burglaries in Fresno

Fresno Car burglaries are up about 33 percent over last year. Police say a lot of drivers are making themselves vulnerable every time they park. They leave cell phones, ipods, purses and CDs in their cars. When they walk away, the prime targets are in plain view.

To a thief, this could be paradise, even in broad daylight. Cell phones, backpacks, tools and even purses are everywhere. If it weren't for security guards on patrol at this southeast Fresno Wal-Mart, they'd be easy pickings for car burglars.

Cathy Kurtz says she's seen it at work and at play. Now, she's worried about it at home.

Cathy Kurtz: "It happens everywhere. You're always hearing about people getting their cars burglarized."

The Exclusive Action News Crimetracker shows more than three-hundred car burglaries in just the last month in Fresno and it's happening all over town. There have been dozens in southeast Fresno, including two by the Wal-Mart. There have also been dozens in north Fresno.

Police say the parking lots for gyms are a favorite target of crooks on the north side.

This SUV is a good example of why. The owner left the windows cracked and left two prime targets out in the open: an expensive portable GPS on the dash, and a purse in the back seat. Back on the southeast side, police pointed out a similar problem.

Sgt. Mark Hudson, Fresno Police Department: "This is gonna be an easy target because the window's left down. Somebody with a small or skinny arm can reach in, pop the lock, and they're in and out. And that wouldn't take long for a thief."

Many people are doing the right thing to keep the thieves away.

Michael DiGiacomo, Fresno: "I usually make sure there's nothing out in the open. I put it in my center console or in the back of the vehicle where you can't see it."

Even people with the best intentions sometimes put bullseyes on their cars. Remember Cathy Kurtz?

Cathy Kurtz, Fresno Driver: "I make sure my purse is out of the car. If it's not out of the car, I lock it in the trunk."

While she took her purse in the store, Kurtz made at least two big mistakes. She left her windows cracked, giving robber's easy access.

Kurtz: "I didn't really know it was easier to get in. So, that's a new thing."

She also left several items in the front and back seats, including a bag from a wireless store.

Police say this is the easiest way to stop burglars. Just pop the trunk, throw your valuables inside, and you'll remove the temptation. If you don't have a trunk, they say try to leave your valuables at home, or take them with you.

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