South Bend neighborhood deals with rash of car break-ins

South Bend neighborhood says car break ins happen every month

Police say breaking into a car is a crime of opportunity, but neighbors on the northwest side of South Bend in the Keller Park neighborhood say they've had their cars broken into multiple times.

It's common in Keller Park to park your car in the street, but neighbors say they should be able to do that without having to worry about break ins. They say cars are being broken into here nearly every month.

Driving through the Keller Park neighborhood, you wouldn't suspect anything to be out of the ordinary. But having a police officer here seems to be the normal. Neighbors say car break ins happen all of the time.

Jamie Fortson says it happened to her two days ago.

“Just came out to the car yesterday morning at 6:30 in the morning to go to work and seen that somebody went through it and left a big old mess,” she said.

And it's not just her. Several neighbors complain of it.

“It happens all the time, though, so it's something we've just kind of become accustomed to,” Fortson said.

South Bend Police Lt. Joe Galea says the thieves are sometimes hard to catch.

“You have to have witnesses that are constantly on the phone with us and are actually seeing an individual, and they can be our eyes and ears until we get there. So that would be a great start, but it's usually tough to catch because most people usually want the cash or things of that nature,” Galea said.

But the break-ins happen at night while many are sleeping.

Fortson has even stopped locking her car.

“I'd rather them just open the door and look for what they want than to break out my window, and now you wanting to take my $.50 in my cubby cost me $200 to get a new window,” Fortson said.

Galea says the best way to stop the thieves is to have neighbors look out for each other.

“Neighbors, community groups that are the best sources. You know who belongs in your neighborhood. That's who we rely on, a lot of times, on the individuals to call, and if you see anything suspicious,” Galea said.

While Fortson says she doesn't lock her car at night, Galea doesn't suggest that. He says to make sure you lock your car and take all of your valuables out of it. That way thieves won't be tempted to take something.

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