Harford deputies 'sticking' possible victims of car break-ins

Posted at 4:27 PM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 18:31:26-04

It's Harford County's most common property crime and it's pulling at the nerves of both people and patrols. 

"The people are the owners of the property and they're the only ones who can help us knock down this crime trend," Maj. Jack Simpson, of the sheriff's office, said. 

A trend of entering autos -- a money grab of sorts as thieves make off with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars worth of property in seconds. 

The sheriff's office is fighting back. 

"They see if there's any valuables and they see if any doors are unlocked and they educate the owner of the vehicle either by putting a cling on the window or knocking on the fron door and having a conversation," Simpson said, referring to deputies patrolling their beats. 

His team is using tiny stickers, alerting people who run more of a risk of becoming a victim. 

Deputies tweeted a photo last week, finding 61 unlocked cars in just one neighborhood. 

Jamie Chapman didn't want to jinx himself, but says he walks the streets of Bel Air regularly and isn't surprised of the crime trend. 

"Sometimes it's at the parks and places that are left unwatched while people go and get exercise and stuff like that, but it can happen anywhere," he said.

Alarming? Yes...Chapman says. 

Still he and others call it preventable. 

"It's still a nice place to live and people just have to be more careful -- they're so used to not having to lock their stuff up. That's the problem," Chapman said. 

While the trend is down 10% than this time last year, Major Simpson says lock up. 

"Whether it be 75 cents, whether it be your iPad or your sunglasses, it's all going to be helpful. They're going to be able to convert that to a currency that they use for the purchase of heroin," Simpson said. 

An exchange that's feeding into a dark, addictive, cloud over the county, while the sheriff's office is doing its part to push back.