The heat's rising, so are car thefts

Comanche County_Warm weather can mean a surge in crime - especially car-related crimes.  Larger cities such as Lawton are seeing their fair share of car burglaries, thefts, and jackings.  Just Sunday night, 7News reported a police pursuit that began with a car jacking, and on Monday night, three teens were arrested with burglary tools - including a crowbar - in their possession.  But, small towns can fall victim, too.

Elgin and Fletcher are no strangers to car burglaries, and both Chiefs Bremenkamp (Elgin) and Shepard (Fletcher) agree that with the summertime heat comes more car related crimes.  Both say the easiest way to prevent these crimes is simple - lock your car doors.  They say it's surprising how many people don't.  You could blame it on the summer heat, or of feeling so safe in a small town that drivers don't feel the necessity to lock their car doors.

Whatever reason you choose, car burglaries are up in both Fletcher and Elgin.  "We've had between 15 and 20 cars broken into over the last two to three weeks," says Shepard.  "You have one or two a year, and so on and so forth, but to have five of them in one night is unusual," says Bremenkamp.

The chiefs say it's a crime of opportunity - burglars see the item they want, take it, and run.  "They'll go in and steal change, they'll steal the bills laying in the center consoles.  They'll see an i-pod or a cell phone....," says Shepard.  While each burglary in Fletcher were "open door" burglaries, Elgin is a different story.  "They used a tire iron on one, they used a brick on another, and it looked like a rock on the other two," says Bremenkamp.

No matter how the severity of the break in is, police warn that it's important to report it, even if you don't think you'll get the stolen items back.  "The people don't want to waste their time to tell us because they think it's not important, but it's imperative that we get notified so we know that there's a problem happening," says Shepard.

Often, small burglaries here and there add up, and police can use your information to find a pattern to string burglaries together.  When you're the victim of a crime, reporting it may not help you, but it could help your neighbor - if police can catch the burglar before he or she strikes again.