Vehicle break-ins have been a common occurrence throughout Bowling Green. Within recent years, strings of different break-ins have been reported to the Bowling Green Police Department.
Lt. Dan Mancuso said the most recent break-ins occurred on Oct. 8, where over nine reports were filed.
Compared to previous break-ins, recent ones have been happening due to the vehicle not being locked. In similar reports, more off-campus break-ins are shown than on campus.
Previous reports have shown break-ins all throughout the city, some of which are located on South Summit Street, Fourth Street and Ridge Street.
According to Mancuso, the student population is one of the main groups affected. And many of them are because vehicles are left unlocked. The BGPD deals with the off campus break-ins while the Bowling Green State University Police Department deals with all on campus break-ins.
“We had the one string, several years ago, where they were using a particular device to break entry,” Mancuso said. “The most notable similarities we are seeing now is that the vehicles are unlocked and they are having easy access to the vehicle.”
Although they are referred to as car break-ins, the use of force commonly associated with them has not been seen recently.
“When we say car break-ins, the majority of them aren’t actually broken into and the vehicles are left unlocked,” Mancuso said. “Which makes it easy for people to open up the vehicle, rummage through and see if there is anything they want and take it.”
Leaving valuable items in cars may be one of the reasons that students are targeted, Mancuso said.
“A lot of students leave valuables in the car, and other people know that and that may increase them being a target for theft because they leave backpacks and things like that.,” he said. “We’ve had reports in the past where people leave laptops, cellphones, expensive calculators in a car.”
There is no specific time of year the most amount of car break-ins happen; however, break-ins into houses and apartments rise during the winter break as students tend to leave their campus home, and return to their hometown.
Whether a car is parked on or off campus, it is susceptible to getting hit.
“If the vehicles don’t move or are parked and (it’s left) there for the semester, and (students) don't go back to it right away, it would also be a possibility to give people the opportunity to steal from the vehicle and give them more time to not be located,” Mancuso said.
Aside from locking vehicles, Mancuso noted that owners should keep them clean as well. This way no extra attention will be drawn to the vehicle, which could result in a break-in.
“The most important thing that we have said before and will continue to say is try and not leave any type of valuables in the vehicle. Keep the vehicle as clean as possible because as people are looking for vehicles to try to steal something from, and they look in your vehicle and you don’t have a whole bunch of items there, you're not a high target because they are unlikely to get anything,” Mancuso said.