After nearly 30 reported cases of thefts from unlocked cars, garages and homes in the past couple months, you have to wonder: Why don't more people lock their doors?
Of the 29 reported cases of theft from unlocked cars, garages and homes since March 1, the most significant items were stolen on April 14 and 15. Both of the cars were later recovered.
Including the two vehicles, roughly $64,000 in property was stolen as a result of unlocked cars and garages. Other big ticket items included nearly $3,000 in camera equipment, Taylor Made golf clubs and several GPS devices. The recent thefts are detailed in an interactive crime map.
So, how common is it for residents in Whitefish Bay to leave their doors unlocked, and why do they do it?
One village resident said she usually leaves her car unlocked as she goes in and out throughout the day to run errands. She said she always locks her car at night and whenever she parks anywhere other than her driveway.
She said police patrol their block pretty heavily, so she feels safe.
"I still feel really secure," she said.
Others, such as Dick Marx, said they are more diligent about keeping valuables out of plain sight. A longtime resident, he said his car was broken into about five years ago, and while he said thefts are on the rise over the years, he still feels safe in the village.
"Something is going to happen every now and then," he said.
Whitefish Bay Police Chief Robert Jacobs said most of the crimes have occurred at night or in the early morning hours, but there is no other discernible pattern. He said officers are on the lookout for suspicious activity, though.
“After 9 p.m., the officers are looking for pretty much anything that’s moving in the village,” he said.
While some people intentionally do not lock their doors to avoid a smashed window, Jacobs said a smash-and-grab theft is far less likely than the crime of opportunity presented by an unlocked car door. The village has seen three smash-and-grab thefts in the past couple months, or roughly one-tenth as many thefts from unlocked cars.
“If someone were to smash a window, that would bring more attention,” he said.
Ultimately, Jacobs said, it is up to car owners to keep their vehicles locked and not leave valuables in the car.