Shoplifting and car thefts are two crimes that have caught the eye of Cartersville police, who log and map incident data on CrimeMapping.com.
In the first 28 days of November, the Cartersville Police Department responded to 20 shoplifting incidents and seven motor vehicle thefts, said Maj. Jason DiPrima, commander of the department's Uniform Patrol Division.
"As always, entering automobiles to steal property is a concern, especially during this holiday season when people are much more vulnerable and criminals can blend in with the crowds," DiPrima said. "However, we have only had eight reports of [car break-ins] over the past 28 days, which is slightly less than we would expect.
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"The motor vehicle thefts are up significantly during any other period of this year, as well as, compared to last year during this time when there were only two motor vehicle theft reports filed," DiPrima continued. "There is simply no other explanation other than economical and opportunity reasons."
Car thefts in November appear to be scattered and not centralized to any specific part of town, but most appear to happen in residential locations, as opposed to businesses, DiPrima said.
Police logged 106 property crimes last month, compared to 91 in November of 2011, DiPrima said. Property crimes include auto burglary, motor vehicle thefts, burglary, trespassing, criminal damage to property and theft.
While last month saw 15 more property crimes than the same month a year earlier, shoplifting cases, in particular, have spiked.
"Twenty shopliftings have been reported this year in comparison to five last year," DiPrima said. "That equals out over all other property crimes when you consider shoplifting is on the rise.
"If you consider that seven motor vehicle thefts have been reported this year in comparison to two last year, all property crimes excluding shoplifting and motor vehicle theft, are down this year," DiPrima added. "In response, our agency attempts to become involved as much as possible by speaking local businesses and identifying ways that they and their customers can protect themselves from becoming a victim of a theft crime."
How can business owners help? "Increased lighting, more visible employees to inquire if customers need assistance, increased store security and parking lot security, and interior store design and layout that do not make the most expensive and attractive items easy targets," DiPrima said. "However, protection of the store property from theft is best served if left to the discretion and responsibility of the individual businesses."
Zoom in on your neighborhood at CrimeMapping.com to find the police reports filed near you.
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