Jackson residents who left their cars and homes unlocked were robbed May 14, and the chief of police is encouraging people to properly secure their property.
Chief James Humphreys said there was a string of "opportunist crimes" in the Indian Hills and Warren Place neighborhoods. Small valuables were removed from several cars, and two homes believed to have been unlocked, as there were no signs of forced entry.
"We see a rash of these types of thefts every year," Humphreys said. He said criminals walk through neighborhoods checking doors and then help themselves to whatever small items are inside when they find one open. Stolen property is usually cash, he said, which makes it hard to trace and find the perpetrators.
Sgt. Jason Selzer of the Cape Girardeau Police Department said he hasn't seen an increase in vehicle break-ins in his jurisdiction, but that similar crimes are common.
Often when there is a sudden uptick in reports, Selzer said, they are due to groups of experienced thieves from out of town who target areas where there are a lot of cars, such as apartment complex parking lots. Unless you catch them in the act, he said, it is hard to make arrests.
"They'll be in and out in seconds," Selzer said. "They can hit a bunch and be gone."
Humphreys said he thinks the thieves are probably local to Jackson or Cape Girardeau and comfortable walking in the neighborhoods targeted. Investigations are ongoing.
The best way to deter the thieves, Humphreys said, is for people to remove all valuables from their vehicles and lock their cars and residences.
"Common-sense security practices are going to go a long way," Humphreys said.
E. Jackson Blvd. and S. Shawnee Blvd., Jackson, MO
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