BLOOMINGTON — The recent wave of warmer temperatures was followed closely by a wave of vehicle burglaries in Bloomington.
John Fermon, public affairs officer for the Bloomington Police Department, said this isn’t a new trend because these burglaries typically increase during the summer months.
“If somebody's out walking, they’ll pull 100 or 200 (car door) handles a night,” he said.
Whether acting as a group or individually, people will rummage through unlocked cars and take everything from loose change to firearms, Fermon said.
According to the city’s online crime map, 24 vehicle burglaries have been reported in Bloomington in June, but Fermon says this kind of theft often goes unreported.
Based on discussions and posts made on community Facebook groups and neighborhood apps, he estimated the actual number of cars being broken into is much higher.
The reported burglaries haven’t been contained to any targeted areas and instead have spread throughout the city, including near Miller Park and areas east of Veterans Parkway.
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Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner said the town has seen a slight increase in vehicle burglaries compared to last year, but not nearly as many as in Bloomington.
"So far just over halfway into the month, we’ve had six," he said. "So in looking at our data, I certainly don’t think we have a spike or anything like those."
Fermon gave a simple solution for keeping potential burglars at bay: Keep the doors locked at night.
“I know how silly that sounds, but I’d say in 90 percent or even more, the vehicle was unlocked,” he said.
Occasionally someone comes prepared with burglary tools or uses the “smash and grab technique,” breaking in car windows to get inside, but statistically the locked door will prevent the theft, Fermon says.
He also recommends keeping any valuables out of sight as a way to try to eliminate broken windows.