Bowling Green sees high number of car break-ins

Joe Lord

It’s not just a problem on campus.

Bowling Green residents are facing an increase in car break-ins this year, prompting the Bowling Green Police Department to call for greater caution from community members, including those from Western.

As of yesterday, 554 cars have been broken into this year within the city limits, Bowling Green police officer Barry Pruitt said. There were 511 break-ins for all of last year.

There were 696 car break-ins in 2000 and 668 in 1999, Pruitt said.

Bowling Green police have found that one person can be responsible for more than 100 break-ins, Pruitt said. If such a person left the community, it could have a dramatic impact on statistics.

The number of car break-ins tracked by Bowling Green police do not include those on campus, which has suffered its own rash of car break-ins since students returned in August, campus police Capt. Eugene Hoofer said.

The most significant stretch of break-ins occurred Oct. 19 when nine cars parked in and around Creason lot had stereos, speakers and compact discs stolen.

Hoofer said the number of car break-ins on campus has remained consistent in recent years.

Pruitt said car break-ins are crimes of opportunity. Many of the vehicles broken into outside of Western this year had doors that were left unlocked.

He suggested drivers lock their doors and keep valuable property such as cellular phones, purses, backpacks and CDs out of view.

“A lot of times, somebody is walking down the street, they’ll see the car, they’ll see something in the seat, and they’ll go for it,” Pruitt said.

Students should take extra precautions, as well, he said.

“WKU students are one of the primary targets because you’ve got young people with cars with nice stuff in it,” Pruitt said.

Louisville junior Kristin Daugherty, whose apartment is off Stonehenge Road, said she doesn’t worry about someone breaking into her 1996 Ford Escort when she’s at home.

“I probably should, but I don’t,” she said.

While she never leaves her cell phone in her car, she often leaves compact discs in the back seat.

Pruitt said Bowling Green police see significant increases in car break-ins two times a year – when Western students return in August and during the holiday shopping season.

But no single areas in Bowling Green have been hit exceptionally hard by car break-ins this year, he said.

Pruitt said any suspicious activity should be reported to police.

Reach Joseph Lord at [email protected]