Car break-ins rise during the holiday season

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - From Christmas presents to the extra cash you have on hand, you often have more valuables in your car and home this time of year.  Montgomery Police are warning folks to be extra vigilant during the holidays, as more thieves are on the prowl.

Carole King is a recent victim of a car break-in.  It happened while she was inside the gym.

"I came out after having worked out for an hour, and my driver's side window had been smashed out. My purse and cell phone were gone," King said.

She immediately filed a police report then began calling her credit card and debit card companies, but the thief had a head start.

"They were able to actually make transactions fairly near the scene of the crime, about 8 transactions within about an hour and a half," she added.

And even though car break-ins can happen anytime and anywhere, Police tell us they often spike during the holidays.

"This time of year, it automatically goes up. I would think it goes up about 20 to 30 percent, easy," said Lt. Tony Garrett.

Garrett is over Community Policing for the Montgomery Police Department.  He says there are ways to cut down on your chances of being a victim.

Garrett said, "Park around high lit areas and the path that is the most crowded.  A vehicle that has a lot of stuff in it, that's the type of vehicle that they're going to break in to.  So, if you can clean everything out of your car, it's a less chance that your car will be broken in to."

But King says she did everything right.  She parked in a well lit area with her valuables out of sight.  Her advice--you can't always prevent a crime, but you can at least be ready.

"Be prepared.  Have copies of all your important papers and copies of all your cards, both front and back," King said.

It's a lesson she hopes others don't have to learn the hard way.

For more tips on keeping safe during the holidays, visit the Montgomery Police Department's website, and click on "holiday safety".

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