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'Crimes of opportunity': Belgrade Police offer tips to keep your car safe after string of break-ins

Belgrade Police
Posted at 6:47 PM, May 28, 2024

BELGRADE — Car robberies might happen more than you expect. They might even happen in your own front yard. I spoke to Belgrade Police about what you can do to keep yourself safe in this situation.

“Typically what happens is, in cities they’ll pick an area, go out on foot, check a bunch of cars, then leave. Then they won't do that area again for a bit,” David Keen, the Belgrade Deputy Chief of Police told me.

Keen says an area around 13th Street in Belgrade was targeted over the weekend. There were nine reported break-ins around the area and two stolen cars over the weekend.

But according to Keen, “It happens quite frequently, unfortunately. I can’t tell you if there’s a better high time or low time for that. There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason, it just seems to be when they have time."

According to the Insurance Information Institute, Montana saw nearly 3,000 car break-ins in 2021. But what are these thieves expecting to retrieve from the cars they break into?

“Anything they think that they can use or pawn, typically. So you see money, you see firearms,” says Keen.

According to Everytown Research Policy, on average, at least one gun is stolen from a car every nine minutes in the United States. And according to Scripps News, car theft now makes up the largest source of stolen guns.

So what are some ways you can prevent your car from being broken into? According to Keen these incidents usually occur in large quantities during late hours at night.

“When they hit a whole bunch, they are typical crimes of opportunity. So they check door handles."

Keen tells me very rarely do these city car thefts involve damage to the car. Nearly 100% of these robberies are the result of people leaving their car doors unlocked overnight.

Which is why Keen suggests, “To stay safe we recommend that they lock their cars, put their windows up, and don’t leave any valuables in the vehicles."