RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If you leave your cell phone on the seat of your car, Richmond Police could come knocking in the middle of the night.
Officers in Sector 412, which includes the Bellevue, Ginter Park, Northern Barton Heights and Carver neighborhoods, will be participating in a new "Wake Up Call" initiative.
Officers will patrol neighborhood streets between the hours of midnight and 4:00 a.m. looking for any items of value (such as a GPS, music player, or computer) in plain view in a parked car. If they see anything left out, they will match the vehicle to its registered owner. If the owner lives in the neighborhood, midnight shift officers will knock on the front door for an unexpected wake up call.
"I'd be real concerned...I'd probably be calling the police before I answered the door," said Dug Campbell, who lives in Bellevue.
According to Lt. Brian Corrigan, the initiative is meant to cut down on thefts from motor vehicles. Police records show that in the past month, the sector experienced 20 thefts. 12 of the 20 vehicles were left unlocked.
"I would be glad if it keeps my belongings from getting stolen, and thankful that they're patrolling the neighborhood," said Kim Laughter Smith of Bellevue.
Corrigan said the observations will be limited to cars parked on the street. He has given officers and their supervisors permission to complete the overnight wake up calls and to direct any complaints to him.
"It is my hope that the officers will explain to the residents the reason for this 'inconvenient intrusion' and that the residents will appreciate the reasoning behind it," Corrigan wrote in a letter to civic association leaders.
While many residents raised concerns on the NBC12 Facebook page about private property rights and a good night's sleep, others were able to see the positive side.
"It wouldn't bother me. I think it's good for the police to be involved," said Edwin Holloway of Bellevue.