BREAK-INS: Vehicle break-ins on decline in Col. City

COLUMBIA CITY — While vehicle break-ins in Fort Wayne are on the rise, Columbia City’s vehicle break-ins are on the decline, but still a continual problem.“This seems to be a common problem for us,” said Longenbaugh.“With this we often see where we get a group of juveniles who wander around town and get into unlocked vehicles.”In 2010, 18 break-ins occurred from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31.In 2011, the number increased to 37 from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, but this year’s report has seen a decline to 27 break-ins.According to Longenbaugh, incidents of reported vehicle break-ins are often scattered throughout the city, with no particular site being targeted any more than any other.One of the most recent vehicle break-ins occurred in Eagle Glen, where Longenbaugh said an arrest was made.While most of the break-ins involve unlocked vehicles, Longenbaugh said the police department has seen some forced entries as the thief breaks in one of the windows.“The vast majority of thefts come from unlocked vehicles where valuables are left in plain sight,” said Longenbaugh. Items most often reported missing from break-ins include wallets, purses and GPS units. “A lot of time it’s also change, CDs, DVDs or whatever they can get their hands on,” said Longenbaugh.Longenbaugh cautions citizens to take steps to reduce their chances of becoming a victim to a vehicle break-in.These steps include: keeping valuable items out of plain sight, taking valuable items out of the car or keeping them in the trunk, locking vehicles and parking in a well-lit area.“Most break-ins occur late at night or in the early morning hours,” said Longenbaugh. “We advise people to pay attention to suspicious activity and to report it to the police department.”