MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — After a string of car break-ins last week, Mountain Brook’s police are sending a word of caution to the community.
Police have found that a large network of criminals will occasionally target Mountain Brook in small groups, which is what happened to Callie McCraney and her family. They learned the hard way to always keep their car doors locked.
Callie McCraney lives on Glencoe Drive in Crestline. She says she was watching TV around 2 a.m. late last week when she heard a loud muffler outside her house. McCraney witnessed two white men in their 40s opening the car doors to both her and her parents’ vehicles.
“I saw them come around into my car, and my backpack was in my front seat and that’s the large item I could see them clearly taking,” said McCraney.
McCraney said that by the time she and her father went outside, the men had driven away. The only thing that was stolen was her backpack, which McCraney says was fortunately empty.
According to Mountain Brook Police Chief Ted Cook, roughly 90 percent of all the cars broken into in Mountain Brook are unlocked. Cook says that criminals are well aware of this suburban bad habit.
“A lot of times they will go out in groups,” said Cook. “The guys will just walk along pulling door handles until they find that car that is unlocked. Then they are going to go in and take what they can that is of value.”
Cook says the amount of car break-ins is significantly less than this time last year. Mountain Brook increased patrols and the crime went down.
Cook says that it is too early to tell if the crimes are trending again this year, but cautions that car break-ins usually come in waves.
Cook says to always call 911 if you suspect any suspicious activity in your neighborhood.
“The Mountain Brook police were great. They were at our house within two or three minutes. But it’s just in the area, everything is so close that I think a lot easier for robbers to hit,” said McCraney.
Trissy Condra also lives in Crestline and says the recent break-ins worry her.
“It’s scary because you live in what you think is a safe neighborhood. When you hear that your area’s been targeted it makes you a little scared,” Condra said.
Cook says the most important thing you can do to prevent becoming a victim is to get in the habit of locking your car.
“Don’t be oblivious because it’s not a perfect world no matter where you live,” said Condra.
Cook also says if you suspect someone is breaking into your car, press your car alarm. He says the noise will usually scare away criminals.
Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News