KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- More than 500 vehicle break-ins in Forsyth and Guilford counties. No, that’s not the total for all of 2016; it’s the total for December, so far.
“We’ve had a ton of breaking and entering vehicles here in this last month,” said Officer Jerry L. Redden, of the Kernersville Police Department. “56.”
Yet, 56 is a relatively small number when compared to the numbers in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
Winston-Salem police say they’ve had 190 vehicle break-ins since Dec. 1. In Greensboro, they say they’ve had 162. When you factor in 58 reported by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, 27 reported by High Point police, and 13 by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, it brings our total to 506 vehicle break-ins in Forsyth and Guilford counties in the month of December.
“They’re gonna go in and steal your change, your GPS, your phone, your valuables. If it’s visible and locked, they’re gonna bust your window out and take it,” Redden said. “It’s just unfortunate, it’s just the way it is around the holiday season.”
All of the above departments will tell you the vast majority of the vehicles which have been broken into were unlocked.
“They walk by and it’s got nothing in it, and it’s locked, they ain’t gonna waste their time looking,” Redden said. “They’re gonna go to the next car that has their purse on the front seat that’s unlocked.”
“It was cold that night,” said Patrick Kelly, of Kernersville, recalling the night he became a victim. “I came out and I looked I saw my GPS was gone.”
Kelly said he normally locks his vehicle, which sits only a few feet from his front door. But, of all nights for him to leave it unlocked, he did it on Christmas Eve.
“Oh, I never thought that would happen to me and then it does happen to you,” he said.
Kelly and at least six of his neighbors had their vehicles broken into that night.
“Well, Merry Christmas,” he said, shrugging.
“It’s rare we actually catch them in the act,” Redden said. “It is. They’re slick.”
Kernersville police have begun posting stickers on businesses which read, “HIDE, LOCK, TAKE,” meaning hide your things, lock your car, take your keys. Greensboro police are among other departments which have started putting signs out in neighborhoods reminding people to do the same thing.
However, officers and deputies say they can only do so much; real prevention comes down to the vehicle owners following through.