CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – A home security camera video of a group of people walking up to cars and pulling on the handles in a West Ashley is circulating a neighborhood group with people sharing to raise awareness about the issue.
The owner of the Ring camera posted the video with a message of warning, hoping it would get to others in the area. In the video, a person walks up to two cars, tries the handles and walks away when the cars do not open.
Officials with the Charleston Police Department say the video shows the best-case scenario, where people are looking for a crime of opportunity, but are deterred by locked doors, and now they have been caught on camera.
Brianna Simmons, the Digital Media Coordinator for the Charleston Police Department, helps distribute the department’s 9 p.m. routine across social media.
“Sometimes people take rocks and they throw it through car windows and break windows, and they take things from your car, so it’s really important to not only lock your doors, make sure you have taken everything out, but also park in a well-lit area because cars alone on a dark street makes it more susceptible to be targeted,” Simmons says.
She says a damaging break-in is the worst-case scenario and taking preventative steps does strongly deter people looking for an easy crime. The video shows a group of people pulling on car doors in the Citadel Woods neighborhood at about 1 a.m. on Thursday.
Police say a 9 p.m. routine of taking valuables inside, locking your car, and turning on outside lights can make a difference.
“We actually have a page on Ring neighbors so people who have a Ring Camera, we have a page where we do weekly updates and we’re letting people know ‘Hey make sure to do your 9 p.m. routine.’ We also release our numbers monthly of our break-ins for the last month. So giving those updates of what happens monthly, if we’re seeing it go up or down,” Simmons says.
In the first 21 days of 2024, police have logged 66 thefts from cars.
“We definitely want to have any footage, anything that you can provide to us to assist you in a case to locate whoever that is, will definitely be a big help to us,” Simmons says.
The police department says that even if nothing was stolen or broken you can always reach out to them with video or questions about a situation to see if can help in another case or warrants more investigation.
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