OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) – Ocean Springs Police are warning drivers to lock their car doors because a lot of criminals are breaking into vehicles around town. In fact, the department reports 123 auto burglaries so far this year.
Sandra Gheliano said she had her car burglarized before and it's not a good feeling.
"They ripped out the lock and stole everything out of our car."
Gheliano makes it a habit now to lock up.
"I would rather take all the precautions than to be upset with myself I was robbed," Gheliano said.
But Ocean Springs businessman David Krause admits he doesn't take those same precautions.
"I never lock my car actually. I don't think anybody wants to steal it." Krause said.
Ocean Springs Lt. John Flowers when drivers don't lock their cars, they're simply making themselves an easy target for auto burglary.
"This year alone we have seen an increase up to 15 percent in auto burglaries and the main contributing factor is unlocked car doors," Flowers said.
Flowers said last month three trespassers were arrested at Fort Bayou Apartments for allegedly breaking into several open cars.
"The economy, I believe, does play a factor. Now, we are on track to surpass the number of auto burglaries from last year. That is unfortunate."
Police are now doing their part by beefing up patrols to prevent this crime.
"We do the best we can."
Flowers said drivers can also help themselves by not leaving your wallet, cell phone and purse on the front or backseat.
"I would recommend individuals to lock anything of value in the trunk of the vehicle or out of plan view. When it is in view, it is an invitation to a thief," Flowers said.
Lt. Flowers said the best tip he can give citizens that will save time, money, and headaches is to simply take a few seconds to lock the door. Flowers also recommends that citizens purchase alarms systems and park in brightly lit areas.