NewsPinellas County


Car break-ins in Bay Area on rise during holidays

Posted at 4:38 AM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 07:11:16-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg Police Det. Peter Venero says there are many reasons why car break-ins skyrocket during the holidays: kids on break, people desperate for money, more gifts and shopping items stored in cars.

But the No. 1 reason? The most wonderful time of the year is also the most hectic.

“You’re thinking of your holiday shopping,” says Venero. “You’re thinking of who’s coming to town, what you’re making them for dinner. All of it is a distraction.”

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And yet the problem, and the solution is simple: Lock your doors. Ninety-nine percent of the time, say police, a car thief will move on from a locked car.

Old Northeast St. Pete has been hit especially hard. But Andrew Orr, head of the Neighborhood Scout & Safety Program, says the problem is bigger than locking doors.

“I believe the people who are doing this will start coming around using bricks,” he says.

Orr says the NSSP is a see-something-say-something group — more eyes on the streets could deter car thieves.

So he’s called a town hall-type meeting for Saturday at the Panera Bread on 4th Street in downtown St. Pete. The meeting runs from 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Everyone is invited.