Car break-ins on rise in Downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Police said thieves target heavily traveled areas, like near the convention center. There have been dozens of car break-ins in the past two weeks. And with the holidays just around the corner officers will be out on extra patrols during big events.

On any given night the streets of Downtown Fresno are rather empty. But during the day, the parking stalls are full. And on weekends, parking lots can be packed. And this creates a pool of targets for car burglars.

Curtis McAfee of Fresno is a recent victim. His wallet was taken, even though it was hidden in his car. "It was actually in my glove compartment and the way they broke in, it seemed like they took their time with it and went through all my stuff," he said.

Fresno police said this is happening far too often now. They told Action News after the Fresno Grizzlies wrapped up their season at Chukchansi Park car burglary reports dropped. Since then, break-ins are back on the rise.

"We're just trying to get ahead of the game and maybe do things proactively to ensure people can come downtown and enjoy themselves and not have to worry about crime," said Fresno Police Captain Greg Garner.

Police plan to put extra patrols even if it means bringing officers in on overtime. They will likely target busy areas like the convention center for special events.

That's welcome news for many who are spending this pre-holiday season downtown at the new ice skating rink. Joseph Martinez said he's constantly worried about his car being broken into, so he takes extra steps to keep it safe.

"If I know it's a gated area or a parking garage, even if it's at a high price like $10 or $15 dollars, I would pay it," Martinez said.

Police are hoping cars will be safe in any parking spot downtown. But you also have to do your part. "We want to encourage people in the downtown area, or anywhere in the city for that matter, to not leave things in plain sight inside your vehicle that could attract someone and might tempt them to break in and steal it," Capt. Garner said.

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