RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Lock it or lose it: That’s what police are reminding people to do at local parks and public spaces as the weather warm up.
Lt. Brian Prendergast of Richmond police says five cars were broken into or had items stolen from them this past weekend alone by the 21st entrance to James River Park.
“Three of them were unlocked, two of them were locked,” he said.
Items like purses, cell phones and even laptops were taken.
Prendergast says that last year 74 car-related thefts took place, with the majority happening during spring and summer.
“Sixty-four occurred from March until October, so obviously we’re hitting the high point right now where we’re going to get into the warmer weather. Longer days, and people are going to be visiting the parks a lot more, [that] creates more targets," he said.
Because of the rise in thefts, RPD has launched a “Lock It or Lose It” initiative to remind people to lock up their cars or hide belongings.
“If you’re going to leave it out in plain view, you are opening yourself up to be victimized. Lock your vehicles, put your stuff out of plain sight. Generally, from what we have seen previously, your stuff will be safe,” Prendergast said.
People who come to the park frequently say they sympathize for those who were targeted, but will take extra steps to protect their own things.
“It’s awful when you don’t just have your things stolen but your car has been broken into, there’s glass everywhere," Maya Smith said.
“It kind of throws me off, but that’s not going to really prevent me from coming out here. It is going to cause me to really pay more attention to my surroundings," Sherwynn Trotman said.
Prendergast said police will be stepping up their patrols in hot spots by James River Park.
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