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Smash and grab car burglaries a concern at shopping centers and in neighborhoods

CSPD working with businesses and neighborhood watch programs hoping to help people defend against these crimes during the holiday season
Smash and grab car burglaries a concern at shopping centers and in neighborhoods
Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-05 07:17:51-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — During the holiday season criminals are staying busy in Colorado Springs targeting us in stores, parking lots, and even our neighborhoods.

Police investigators tell News5 smash and grab burglaries from parked cars are happening every single day in Colorado Springs. The crooks typically get away with purses, gym bags, and even electronics, but this time of year they’re after those holiday gifts left in plain sight, or even placed in the trunk of your car.

“And so the criminals will literally walk up, they'll pick up a rock, they'll pick up anything in the area and they'll throw it right through the window. They're in and out in 10 or 15 seconds,” said CSPD Crime Prevention Officer M.J. Thomson.

For decades Officer Thomson has worked to stop criminals from breaking people’s hearts during the holiday season, but he sees many of the crime victims making the same mistakes year after year.

“It's crazy. They're going from store to store to store. They're busy. They're in a rush. They'll buy something from one store, they'll run out, they'll put it in their vehicle, and they'll even forget to lock the door,” said Thomson.

Meanwhile, investigators say the thieves often hide in plain sight, watching our every move.

”They'll use stolen vehicles. They'll actually sit and watch. They'll watch in parking lots. They'll watch for people to come put numerous items in their vehicle," said Thomson. "They drive through neighborhoods. They look for items left in vehicles parked in neighborhoods parked in driveways.”

Susi Huntz says that’s exactly what happened to one of her neighbors.

“They had both their cars parked out in their driveway and the thieves got into both of them not once, but twice," said Huntz. "Yeah, they had computers, their purses, everything in there.”

Shopping in Colorado Springs, Ronald Bryant says with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season he’s concerned people get complacent. Especially, with leaving purses and gifts out in the open and unattended.

”They leave them in the baskets and so it’s just something that I see and then packages in cars, in vehicles where you can see them. A lot of them are already wrapped, so goodbye,” said Bryant.

And when it comes to porch pirates and thefts in the neighborhood, Bryant says it’s important to be a good neighbor.

“Get your neighbor’s contact information," urged Bryant. "Everybody carries a cellphone. Text them. Say hey, packages are on your front porch, Your garage door is open. Things like that.”

There are currently more than 600 neighborhood watch efforts in areas across Colorado Springs. If you are interested in taking the lead on starting a neighborhood watch on your street you can visit this link to get started: https://coloradosprings.gov/neighborhood-watch-program

If you operate a retail store locally and would like to work with CSPD Crime Prevention to develop security measures to defend against crime you can visit https://coloradosprings.gov/crime-prevention-program

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