CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Earlier this week we talked with a woman trying to alert the community to the fact many cars are being broken into, often in broad daylight. It happened to her this past weekend at a Ballantyne gym.
WBTV reached out to CMPD about crime data in that area when that viewer reached out to us.
CMPD confirmed larcenies from vehicles are in both neighborhood areas and in businesses, in the South Division. That includes Ballantyne, Waverly, Arboretum, Quail Hollow and other neighborhoods.
“It was utter shock; I just had no idea that was happening in this community,” Jennifer Campbell of Ballantyne said.
On Monday, we introduced you to Campbell, whose care was broken into at the Morrison Family ‘Y’.
“I didn’t know that this was a known issue at the ‘Y’ so yeah, I have a much smaller purse and I carried in with me today during my class,” Campbell said.
CMPD said the Morrison Family “Y” has seen a 150 percent increase in auto larcenies so far this year.
Data shows there were four auto larcenies at this time last year, compared to 10 this year.
“For larcenies from autos, it’s up,” Chris Dozier, Captain of CMPD’s South Division, said. “It’s been up this year and again, the targeting of these fitness locations where they know the behaviors of the people going in and knowing they have an extended period of time where they’re not going to have somebody coming back to the car.”
For this entire area of the south division, car break-ins are up 2 percent.
CMPD adds that fitness centers have seen 24 cases of it happening so far this year, which is a whopping 71 percent increase from this time last year.
|Fitness Center||2021 Larceny from auto||2022 Larceny from auto|
|Harris YMCA, 5900 Quail Hollow Rd||0||1|
|Orange Theory Quail Corners, 8402 Park Rd||0||0|
|9Round Fitness, 7510 Pineville Rd||0||0|
|Morrison Family YMCA, 9405 Bryant Farms Rd||4||11|
|Sara’s YMCA, 15940 Brixham Hill Ave||3||1|
|LA Fitness, 12325 Copper Way||3||1|
|Crunch Fitness, 16045 Johnston Rd||0||1|
|Sports Connection, 11611 Ardrey Kell Rd||0||1|
|Lifetime Fitness, 11220 Golf Links Dr.||3||6|
|Orange Theory, 8038 Providence Rd||1||2|
“Thieves usually target these areas because they know people are going inside for an extended period of time and a lot of times they don’t want to leave their items in the locker room, so they leave them in the car,” Dozier said.
Just because you go to a gym, doesn’t mean you’ll be hit. Police say all fitness centers aren’t targets; some have shown less crime this year. But CMPD says they think some of the smash-and-grabs happening are from organized groups of people from out of area.
“Once they spot a vehicle, they decide they’re going to target, all it takes is for them to go up, a quick hit on the window, they smash, they grab the purse and in 10 seconds they’re gone. They can work a whole parking lot, multiple vehicles in just a couple of minutes and be out,” Dozier said.
Police tell WBTV it’s hard catching these criminals because it’s a fast crime, and they’re generally covered in hats, sunglasses, and bolt from the area fast.
“Unless we can get tag numbers from cars and things like to where we can tie something back to name, which often we aren’t able to get, it’s very difficult,” Dozier said.
CMPD says when it sees spikes in larcenies at fitness centers or other places, it works with their security team to increase patrols in that area.
Police say this is largely preventable, it just takes effort from the public by not leaving belonging in your car.
Earlier this week, the YMCA Charlotte released a statement about the recent incident saying:
“While we are disappointed to hear that a member experienced a theft from their vehicle in a parking lot on our property, we do offer safety measures and reminders to anyone visiting our branches. At the branch where the incident occurred, we have signage displayed throughout the parking lot and at entrances to the branch to remind our members and visitors not to leave valuables in their vehicle. We offer free lockers for our members, as well as locks that can be borrowed. We encourage visitors to our facilities, and all public facilities, to be mindful of these reminders, as well as CMPD’s tips on safety. Safety and security of those we serve is our top priority.”
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