Expect to see an increase in thefts from cars at these locations this summer

Expect to see an increase in thefts from cars at these locations this summer
Richmond Police say they're expecting an increase in the number of thefts from cars over the summer

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With warmer temperatures here, Richmond Police are preparing for an uptick in the number of car burglaries across the city, and are sharing some locations of where they could happen.

Officers want residents to think about safety if they plan on hitting the James River or the trails by locking up your valuables.

"I just take all my valuables with me, but if we do have to leave some stuff in the car I usually put it in the trunk so they can't see it at all, or tuck it under the seat," said Destiny Smith, a VCU student.

Through May 27, Richmond Police have reported more than 275 thefts from cars in the 3rd Precinct, which includes areas along the James River.

Sunday a woman's car was broken into while she was out at the rocks along the James River. Police said she didn't realize anything had happened until she started getting messages from her bank about purchases on her credit card.

"It's a shame," said Tommy Price, who lives near the burglary location. "I hate to think that the neighborhood I just moved into is high crime, but it's not too positive."

Investigators said the woman came back to her car parked at West 19th Street where she found her window broken out and her purse and other items missing.

"I'll keep my eyes open for sure," Price said. "I'll let my neighbors know for sure if I see anything strange. That's the most I can do, I suppose."

Based on a community crime map website, in the last month there were at least 10 car burglaries within a three block radius of where Sunday's burglary happened.

West 19th is just one of several locations RPD says are 'hotspots' for car break-ins during the summer months.

"Maymont sometimes too," Smith said. "[They seem to target] open parking lots where you don't have to pay to park."

Maymont area parks were on the list RPD provided. It also included William Byrd Park and the Texas Beach area.

On the Southside, the list includes Pony Pasture, Huguenot Flatwater, 42nd Street and the Riverside area including Reedy Creek, 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd and Riverside Drive, or generally any street off Riverside that has trails down to the river.

In several of those parking lots, there are signs urging drivers to lock up their stuff.

"I usually try to take just the bare minimal and keep them in a backpack on me," said Chet Frierson.

"I have friends who used to leave a whole wallet in the car, or in the passenger seat," said Collin Hopkins. "I'm like hide that, because somebody will smash your window and take the wallet!"

Police said even leaving an empty bag in your car could make yourself a target to a car break-in.

They suggest keeping your car clean, and not filled with items that might make it appealing to a thief.

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