Police: Thieves have targeted 200 cars in Norfolk since Jan. 1

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Police are asking residents to be on the lookout for suspicious people peeking into vehicles or attempting to open up car doors after 200 reported break-ins this month.

Since Jan. 1, officers have responded to an average of more than 10 thefts from vehicles each day.

Officer Daniel Hudson says the department is increasing patrols, including downtown, where suspects have targeted several public parking garages.

“A lot of times we don’t think it’s going to happen to us, but unfortunately it can happen to us,” said Hudson.

Residents at Monticello Station Apartments, on E. Freemason Street, received a letter from property managers on Thursday altering them of several car break-ins in the Bank Street Parking Garage.

“It’s sad,” said Michelle Johnson, who parks in downtown garages four times a week. “It’s kind of getting to be more of a fact of life than it is something shocking.”

Records show at least six recent incidents on Bank Street. Within a one-mile radius downtown, there’s been about 27 reports in the last month.

Incidents have been reported on Bute Street, Granby Street, Freemason Avenue and others in the area.

There’s been about 70 thefts from vehicles reported over the last three months, according to online police records.

Johnson believes people are too trusting.

“It’s kind of like an old southern thing. You take it for granted, trust your neighbors and unfortunately I’ve had friends who have had purses stolen,” she said.

Police say drivers are leaving items in plain sight and forgetting to lock their doors.

“Don’t leave even dollar bills inside your glove box or inside a compartment of your vehicle,” said Hudson. “Even the smallest things may not be valuable to you, but could be valuable to somebody who really wants it.”

Hudson says anyone who sees something suspicious should give police a call.

Property managers at Monticello Station Apartments told residents through a letter that they are working with police and working to enhance security.