Burglars have been targeting unlocked cars and auto garages more in Wilmette during 2012 than in 2011, according to .
From Jan. 1 through August 24, 132 garage and auto burglaries were reported to the Wilmette Police Department, a 67 percent increase from last year when 79 such burglaries were reported to the Wilmette police during the same period.
Wilmette police have made over a dozen arrests, and have identified and cleared 50 cases so far this year. But with the significant increase in such cases from last year, police are starting a campaign urging residents to lock their properties.
“This campaign is focused on prevention, reducing the opportunity for those crimes to occur,” Police Chief Brian King said in a statement.
More than 90 percent of all burglaries in this category involve unlocked cars and garages, police said. In cases where force is used, items of value such as purses or lap top computers are visible inside the car. Police recommend removing such items from view and locking your cars.
Crime Occurred Most in East Wilmette
About 80 percent of the cases have occurred off alleys on the east side of Wilmette, roughly between Ridge and Sheridan Roads, and the Kenilworth and Evanston borders, police said.
Check back next week for a map of where the burglaries occurred.
The vast majority of these cases involve overnight burglaries to cars and garages where the items have been left unlocked. The offenders typically entered garages through closed but unlocked service doors. Offenders target coins, electronic items, and high-end bicycles.
Only a Moment to Lock Doors
Wilmette police say they spend countless hours tracking down suspects, taking them into custody, interviewing them, recovering property and preparing cases for court.
If a case goes to trial, the vehicle owner can spend hours in court as the complaining witness. Wilmette police say all that time could be avoided if someone from each household simply takes one moment at the end of the night to secure their property.