January 27, 2011
Even pocket change can draw in a thief. That's the warning police are putting out after seeing a rise in some types of theft.
New statistics show an overall decrease in major crimes in Wichita, with one exception - burglary.
The rates of homicides, rapes, and assaults are all down, but non-residential burglaries, including those to businesses, sheds, and vehicles have all seen a significant increase over the past year. So, police are asking the public to help protect themselves.
Officers say it doesn't take much for burglars to be successful. It's something Bryce Kilian knows all too well.
"I went to open up the back of the truck, and all my books were scattered everywhere and my bat bag was opened up," said Kilian.
In the middle of the night, thieves apparently broke into Kilian's truck, stole a $400 baseball bat, his wallet, and his iPod, then bashed in the window of this father's brand new vehicle, taking a GPS.
"It's kind of scary because I thought the neighborhood was a lot safer than that, and we wouldn't have that kind of stuff going on," said Kilian.
"It's a crime of opportunity. Anytime that you leave something in your car, no matter where you are, somebody's going to try to take it," said Wichita Police Capt. Jeff Easter.
It's a crime that is happening more in Wichita. Statistics show vehicle burglaries increased by more than 20% last year. So police are encouraging people not to keep anything of value in their cars.
"That includes change. Because when people are going by, it's a crime of opportunity, they look in your car, they see some change and they think, 'well there's probably going to be more stuff in there,'" said Easter.
Police say the same goes for burglaries to garages and sheds, one of the only other areas to see a recent spike in crime. When burglars see structures are closed and locked, officers say they tend to leave them alone.
"If you have the proper steps in place, thieves recognize that as well, and they'll move on and they'll go to the next person that has given them the opportunity," said Easter.
Kilian says he won't be giving burglars any more opportunities when it comes to his property.
"I got comfortable just leaving my stuff in my truck, but now I either hide it or put it away," said Kilian.