As car break-ins increase, Fresno Police say ridesharing app users are a target

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Crime is trending in the right direction in Fresno this year, but one preventable problem has become more alarming over the last few weeks.

Car break-ins are trending up, and Fresno Police say parking your car after a night of drinking and taking a ride-sharing service home can turn your car into a target.

During his short visit to the Tower District, Mike Ford thought about making his car unattractive to burglars.

"I think I've done a good job," he told an Action News crew. "On the other hand, my daughter would say if I leave anything on the inside of the car that I'm looking for trouble."

But as we inspected dozens of cars in the same parking lot, his was one of several cars where we spotted a phone charger resting between the two seats.

Fresno Police say car break-ins are down about 18% for the year, but they're up 19% over the last four weeks.
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The Tower is a hot spot. Several people have posted to the Please Help Stop Crime in the Tower District Facebook page about break-ins.

And car chargers are one of a few small items the crooks now think are worth breaking a window to steal.

"In some cases, our cars are being broken into simply because they have change or a charger, a cell phone charger that is visible," said Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer.

Several cars had change visible during the Action News inspection. And Ford's car might've been a doubly desirable target because of the charger and a blue folder filled with paperwork.

We guessed they might be personal documents, leaving him open to identity theft.

"That is personal documents, so my daughter was right again," he said.

Ford says he probably needs to do a better job following his daughter's advice and Dyer says police need to keep up an awareness campaign.

"We have to do just a little bit better job in terms of trying to reduce some of these burglaries in areas like the Tower," he said.

One of the reasons he says Tower visitors get hit more frequently is because they might leave their cars after a night of drinking. The chief says crooks in the Tower broke into 15 cars in a short period of time and 13 of the victims had used Lyft or Uber to get home.

But Dyer says he just doesn't have enough officers to dedicate them to the area every night of the week.
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