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CMPD expands campaign against vehicle break-ins

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Steve Lyttle - slyttle@charlotteobserver.com
The parking lot at 911 E. Morehead St. has experienced a much smaller number of vehicle break-ins this year, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Armed with results showing a big drop in larcenies from vehicles at parking lots near uptown, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they are stepping up efforts to deter would-be criminals.

Officer Naomi Decker of CMPD’s Central Division said police aren’t sure why the number of larcenies has dropped at the locations, but she said prevention is a key to success.

“We know that an important part of the effort is getting motorists to lock their vehicles and keep valuables out of sight,” Decker said Monday. “And we’re pleased with those decreases (in larcenies).”

Police said only two larcenies from a vehicle have been reported so far this year at a lot in the 900 block of East Morehead Street. There were six larcenies at this point last year in the same lot and 11 in 2012. That lot serves Dilworth Neighborhood Grille, Big Chill and Crossfit Dilworth.

At a lot in the 600 block of South Kings Drive, there have been no larcenies this year, compared with two at this time last year and eight in 2011. The other lot noted by police was in the 900 block of South Kings Drive, which had one larceny this year – down from three a year ago.

Norm Randall of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille said the smaller number of larcenies follows a joint effort by police and businesses.

“Police installed some large signs warning people to lock their cars and hide valuables,” Randall said. “We’ve been proactive, too. Our managers walk the parking lots, and we have 24-hour surveillance.”

Randall said businesses that use the lot also installed extra lighting.

CMPD has not released statistics for the second quarter of 2014, but first-quarter statistics showed larceny-from-vehicle cases down more than 4 percent from the same period in 2013.

Decker said CMPD’s Central Division is stepping up efforts to warn motorists because a larger number of people are coming to the center city area.

“The new BB&T Ballpark is bringing more people here,” she said. “And we have people coming into the city for the Panthers and Hornets. Many of those people park their vehicles in lots, and we’re trying to get the word out to them.”

She cautioned drivers of older vehicles not to feel safe by thinking that criminals will target newer, more expensive models.

“There’s no relationship between the number of crimes and the make or year of the vehicle,” she said. “Anyone’s personal belongings are vulnerable.”

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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