1500-block of Corcoran Street NW, 9:30 a.m.: This photo shows a break in and theft from an auto in progress. Our neighbor on the block looked out his window, saw what was happening and called the police. According to our witness (who has talked to the police), the guy pulled up on his bike, which he then parked on the sidewalk (in the bottom of the photo). He apparently saw something on the back seat of the car, then smashed the right back window and then popped the trunk. According to the witness, the guy did not seem to have a care in the world… didn’t seem to be worried about being seen or caught.
Car break ins and thefts from autos are a real problem. For example, there were 66 thefts from autos for the May-June period of 2009 in Borderstan.¹ This compares to 44 such crimes for the same two-month period in 2008 and 41 in 2007. This translates into a 50% increase in the number of thefts from autos for this period in one year in the Borderstan area. However, DC crime stats for the past 30 days show only 20 thefts from autos in the area from June 27 to July 27–compared to 41 in the same period of 2008 and 12 in same 30-day period of 2007. Maybe the police caught some of the worst offenders?
So, what happens if you are walking by and come upon a car break-in? Could the guy have a gun? Is he high and in a very bad frame of mind to boot? This is not an abstract concept: This crime today occurred on a sunny, summer morning at 9:30 in a “good” neighborhood.
Finally, I will saw it again: Never leave anything visible in your car. NOTHING. This includes clothing, gym bags, boxes, grocery bags, coats, hook ups for GPS and satellite radio systems, MP3 players, etc. Moreover, do not leave anything of value in your trunk–not even for five minutes.
¹ The Borderstan crime area covers a circular area that radiates 1,500 feet from 15th and Corcoran Streets NW–an area that runs from 13th Street/Logan Circle west to New Hampshire Avenue/half way between 17th and 18th Streets… and from Rhode Island Avenue/O Street in the south to T/Caroline Streets in the north.