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Colorado Springs

Police warn drivers after 3,500 car break-ins so far this year in Colorado Springs

After more than 3,500 vehicle break-ins since January, Colorado Springs police are reminding people to lock up their cars And they have a few more tips on how you can avoid becoming a thief’s target.

CSPD tells us they’ve received reports of cars getting broken into while people are shopping downtown during the day, or dining at restaurants and bars at night.

While plenty of people tend to leave their valuables hidden under a seat, locked in the glove box or tucked away in the center console — police are telling people to forget ALL of that, and bring your belongings with you. Always.

The most concerning item police say they’ve seen stolen out of cars time and time again is their firearms.

“We have a lot of guns that are stolen out of people’s driveways because they’ve been left in their cars. Or sometimes they’ll come into the downtown area and leave their car and their gun unlocked,” said Lt. Jim Sokolik.

The other major hot spots for thieves are cars left unattended at parks and trailheads.

“It’s not a one trailhead either, it’s all across the city,” Sokolik said.

Sokolik says parks and trails are an easy target because hikers normally don’t want to be weighed down, so they tend to leave more belongings in their car.

“Criminals are aware of that. We have people who watch and see if you bring your purse out with you, or if you maybe take the time to put something under your seat.”

His advice? Plan ahead and be smart.

Out of the nearly 3,500 vehicle break-ins so far this year, police say some victims left their guns and other valuables in plain sight.

While Sokolik didn’t want to blame those victims, he told us they could have stopped the theft themselves.

“As much as we talk about our speeding and our traffic, which are preventable by driver behavior, a lot of these crimes are preventable by people not leaving their valuables in their cars,” he said.

Police have a couple more tips as the winter and holiday season approach.

As tempting as it might be to warm up your car with your keys in the ignition, don’t. Thieves could make off with the whole vehicle.

And, if you’re out on a shopping spree and bouncing from store to store, take all of your shopping bags with you. Don’t bring bags back to your car between stores.

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