KC police launch campaign to combat car break-ins - KCTV5

KC police launch campaign to combat car break-ins

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The Big 12 championship is bringing many more people into town, and more people could mean the potential for more crime.

One of the most prevalent crimes is also the most preventable - car break-ins.

Officers say thieves typically target areas near event centers and church parking lots. The Crossroads District and Rivermarket also seem to be easy targets for them.

But a new campaign aims to make it harder for criminals to cheat.

Lori Elliott never thought much of her purple work bag.

"It's full of junk," Elliott said.

Still, she took some caution, placing it under the driver seat.

"You would really have to look," she said.

And someone did. They broke out her back window to snatch it.

"They had pulled out the iPad which was the only valuable thing and ditched the whole bag," Elliott said.

Kansas City police's central patrol division reported more than 4,000 car break-ins last year alone.

Officers have seen people leave designer purses, electronics and even golf clubs in plain view for any potential thief.

"Our community is putting themselves at unnecessary risk," officer James Schriever said. "We know about 90 percent of those could have been prevented if that vehicle's occupant would have taken the time to secure their items"

Police are pushing a new initiative called Junk in the Trunk. Signs now remind drivers to put their valuables in the trunk away from prying eyes.

"By hardening the target, its going to take the criminal more time to get to the valuables, and hopefully police will be on the way," Schriever said.

The Crossroads District is adopting the idea. It has seen about a dozen car break-ins since the year started.

"It's not that we have a huge rash of crime. It's that we don't want one. We're being proactive," Elliott said.

The hope is to make people more aware.

"It doesn't matter where you're at, in a major metropolitan or small city, you have to protect your property," Schriever said.

Elliott learned that lesson the hard way.

"Things I think are worthless, I lock in the trunk," she said,

And this is not just a Kansas City problem. Police agencies across the metro acknowledge the crime is widespread.

Even Overland Park has reported 88 car break-ins since the start of the year. Kansas City hopes to see results and want other communities to adopt the same initiative.

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