NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — In Wooster Square and downtown New Haven neighborhoods have seen a spike in car break-ins and vehicle burglaries lately and police are reminding residents to stay vigilant. Fresh proof of the problem is a pile of shattered glass along Wooster Place, across from St. Michael’s Catholic Church from a recent break-in, which have spiked during both August and September.
“We’re getting hammered with these thefts (out) of vehicles and vandalism of automobiles,” said Peter Webster, manager of Wooster Square Block Watch.
He said neighbors have been complaining to him and the police more frequently.
“Somebody lost three laptops because they left them on the front seat of the car,” Webster said. “Went in to get coffee, came out and it was gone.”
New Haven Police confirm the recent spike in both Downtown and Wooster Square neighborhoods. Figures show that the combined policing district had eight car break-ins during August of last year. That number skyrocketed to 31 for August this year. And all of September 2015 only had seven break-ins for Downtown and Wooster Square. For September 2016, 19 have already been reported, with more than a week left in the month.
New Haven Police said most car break-ins are crimes of opportunity. People leave doors unlocked or leave valuables within eyesight and thieves take advantage. Webster agreed.
“A neighbor saw a young man walking all around Wooster Square Park, checking door handles and looking into cars,” Webster said.
Police recommend simple precautions to help avoid theft:
-Don’t leave valuable items in plain view.
-Keep in mind that electronic devices are stolen most often (cell phones, laptops, GPS, etc.), so keep them with you.
-And always remember LOCK YOUR DOORS.
Police think that maybe an individual or a connected ring of people who are working together may be responsible for all these break-ins lately. Of course if you see something suspicious, call police.