JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Riverside is known as a safe, tight-knit neighborhood where everyone knows everyone. But despite its reputation, residents say there’s been a recent string of car burglaries in the area.
For some, it’s become all too common. In fact, a search of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s crime mapping tool found 39 car burglaries reported in the Riverside neighborhood over the past four months.
A viewer shared some home surveillance video with News4Jax recorded a few days ago. It shows a group walking down College Street pulling on car doors in search of a vehicle that’s been left unlocked.
It’s something that Kaethe Krasner has seen happen firsthand while out walking her dog. “I was walking west on Forbes and I heard some doors being rattled,” Krasner recalled.
She told News4Jax the crooks weren’t fazed by her walking past.
“It’s just kind of like they didn’t even wait down a little further down the block to continue their petty crimes,” she said. “It seemed like a normal night for them.”
Unlike Krasner, Jonathan Shih just moved into the neighborhood and did not know there was a problem with auto burglaries in the area.
“It goes to show that no matter what neighborhood you’re in, you should always be careful about these things,” he said.
Several people who spoke with News4Jax seemed well aware of the string of break-ins, not just in Riverside but throughout the city, primarily through social media including Nextdoor.
The Sheriff’s Office has helped spread the word about car-hoppers by pushing people to remove valuables from their cars and lock their doors as part of the agency’s #9PMRoutine campaign.
While some residents said they’d like to see more patrols in the area, most people who have been hit before understand it’s a crime of opportunity: if cars are locked, crooks have no reason to come back.