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Car burglars strike in Mayport, Atlantic Beach

Police, crime experts give tips to prevent becoming vehicle break-in victim

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ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Several cars in the Mayport and Atlantic Beach areas have been broken into over the last week.

According to the Atlantic Beach Police Department, car burglars have been targeting low-crime areas where they think there’s a higher chance of finding unlocked cars. Residents tend to let their guard down in those areas, police said.

“We’ve had quite a few cases since last week, numerous vehicles each night, no forced entry. Every one has been unlocked cars,” Lt. Tiffany Layson said.

Layson said thieves will take anything that’s left in a vehicle, including loose change, laptops, cigarettes, purses, wallets.

The most recent break-in was reported off Mayport Road at Violet Street.

Homeowners along Violet Street, Taylor Way and Linkside Drive said they also had their cars ransacked by burglars within the last week.

One homeowner’s surveillance cameras caught a burglar vandalizing her car about 3 a.m. Sunday. She hopes it will serve as a warning for neighbors.

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said surveillance cameras serve a key role in tracking down burglars.

“I think about 15 percent of all residential auto burglaries are solved when they have good-quality surveillance video,” Smith said.

Smith said investing in a wireless camera also helps because it prevents a burglar from cutting the wires on an alarm system.

“Homes are 300 times less likely to be burglarized if there’s a home surveillance system installed,” Smith said.

Layson also recommended installing motion-sensor lights, but she said the bottom line is lock car doors and never leave valuables inside a vehicle.