Town Crier Articles

New Town Sees Spike in Car Burglaries
Posted on July 1, 2020 7:00 AM by Patti Vaticano
Categories: Life in New Town
We are very fortunate to live in a community with such a low crime rate.  While we may not rival the fictional Mayberry, North Carolina, compared to the world-at-large, Williamsburg comes pretty near close, as Andy Taylor might have said.  This is due in no small part to an engaged and responsive police force of which James City County has been blessed.  This aside, strict vigilance on the part of county residents in combating crime is necessary and wise.
Last month, during Memorial Day Weekend, May 24th to the 25th, New Town was the site of five car break-ins, largely in the Charlotte Park division of our community.  Powhatan Crossing saw eight car break-ins, over the same holiday weekend.  Video footage was retrieved from Powhatan Crossing revealing two hooded and masked individuals believed to be the perpetrators of all 13 break-ins.  Unfortunately, no surveillance cameras were found in working order, here in New Town.
Investigator Josh Ernst, of the James City County Police Department, told The Crier that all thirteen break-ins yielded only $50 to $100 in stolen merchandise, with one pair of Apple Air Pods the only merchandise with a serial number for tracing.  All break-ins investigated were unforced, as all 13 vehicles had been left unlocked.  No additional break-ins have been reported since Memorial Day Weekend, save for several unrelated incidents on the other side of Williamsburg and by individuals not related to the New Town and Powhatan Crossing break-ins. The investigations are currently at a standstill as no other video footage or fingerprints have been discovered, nor have the air pods surfaced at any of our local pawn shops.  
To keep these sad occurrences isolated events, Master Police Officer, Alan McDowell, Jr., of James City County Police Department’s Community Services Unit, recommends the following as means to greatly reduce the chances of residents becoming victims of car break-ins as well as vehicle thefts:
  • Lock your car doors when the car is left unattended. If you leave the vehicle unlocked, even if there is nothing in plain view, thieves will take the opportunity to look in the vehicle, because it is unlocked and an easy target.
  • Do not leave anything of value, to include large amounts of loose change, in plain view in the vehicle. If your vehicle is locked, but you have valuables in view, this is an incentive to break in. If your vehicle is locked and nothing is in plain view then it may not be worth the time and effort to break in because there is no assurance of a payoff.
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended and running. If it is unlocked then it is an easy target. If it is locked and no one is around, then to someone looking to steal a car, it provides the easy opportunity.
  • Make use of car alarms if your car has one.
  • Report suspicious activity immediately. Criminals will do surveillance before committing these crimes. This is easily detectable if you are paying attention as it appears suspicious. Activity such as people you have never seen in the area looking in vehicles, trying door handles, wandering through parking lots, etc. . . . This type of activity should be reported to the police asap. Even if the person leaves the area without breaking in to a vehicle, contacting the police will increase patrols in the area and potentially prevent or deter the criminal activity as the area will become less appealing to the criminal.
The chief take-away from all of the above is that larcenies from unlocked vehicles are crimes of opportunity.  It is within our power to eliminate the opportunity by removing personal items from our vehicles and always locking our car doors.  Investigator Ernst additionally and strongly advises to make sure your surveillance equipment is always working.  Check those units and their batteries often!
Further information on preventing these crimes may be found via the Facebook and YouTube links below:
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