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Vehicle Theft and Burglaries Spike as People Stay Home During COVID-19 Pandemic



Car Theft Trying to Open the Window of a Car Using Screwdriver | Vehicle Theft and Burglaries Spike as People Stay Home During COVID-19 Pandemic | Featured

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces people to stay at home, their vehicles are parked unattended on the streets. These vehicles catch the attention of thieves, causing a spike in the rate of vehicle theft and burglaries in the country.

Fox Business reported that “vehicle larcenies shot up 63 percent in New York and nearly 17 percent in Los Angeles from Jan. 1 through mid-May, compared with the same period last year.”

Law enforcement agencies around the country report an increase in stolen cars and vehicle burglaries.

“You might as well put a sticker on the window that says, ‘come take my stuff,’” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Last month, 72 percent of the 322 stolen vehicles in Austin, Texas had their keys nearby. The total number of car thefts that month went up about 50 percent. Vehicle burglaries were up 2 percent from April of last year.

Austin police Sgt. Chris Vetrano said the virus has created a “perfect storm.” “You can get on the internet nowadays and learn how to break into vehicles just searching YouTube,” he said.

According to Salt Lake City Police Detective Greg Wilking, a 22 percent spike in vehicle burglaries in the city may be from some criminals working quickly on “car prowls.”

“It’s really 10 seconds,” he said. “They’re not spending a lot of time in your car. It’s a smash-and-grab-and-go.”

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