COLLEGE STATION, Tx.—Residents of Southwest College Station are hoping a connection between community members and police will deter future crime in their neighborhood.
College Station resident, Jeff Allen, organized a meeting Tuesday night at Covenant Presbyterian Church to discuss the increasing crime in the area, especially vehicle break-ins and thefts. He said he hopes a team effort between community members and police will help prevent crime.
Community members like Heather Woolwine agree. She moved to Edelweiss Estates in College Station last October.
A few weeks ago, she walked out her front door one morning and saw her rims and tires gone, her new Yukon Denali up on cinder blocks.
Thieves had run away with all four of her wheels during the night.
Woolwine was frustrated because she had wheel-locks to prevent them from being stolen.
"I thought I did everything that you're normally supposed to do, but you don't come home assuming you're going to have things stolen,” said Woolwine. “It’s really hard to prepare yourself for that,” she added.
Woolwine’s case was reported as a theft because the suspects didn’t break into and enter her vehicle to steal items.
According to College Station Police, vehicle burglaries are on the rise this year in the area.
Crime statistics shared with KAGS from College Station Police show a 37 percent increase in vehicle burglaries from January to June this year compared to the same time last year.
Officials say it’s not just happening in the Brazos Valley.
Officer Robert Shumaker with College Station Police said that crooks scout neighborhoods, targeting certain areas at a time. He’s aware of cases from Bryan to College Station to Navasota.
“Usually we have one or two groups of people that are going around doing this, committing burglaries. They concentrate on different area neighborhoods each night and then work their way throughout the city,” said Officer Shumaker.
However, some of these crimes hit close to home, especially for Woolwine.
“I felt so violated. I live in a good neighborhood and it made me really wake up to the fact that it doesn’t matter where you live if someone’s going to steal from you, they’re going to steal from you,” said Woolwine.
So, what can you do to protect your property?
Officer Shumaker says that motion lights help along with security cameras to deter criminals.
He says the best way to reduce crime in your area, is to use the LOCK-TAKE-HIDE approach. Many thieves are looking for firearms and other valuables left behind in your vehicle.
Plus, Officer Shumaker suggests connecting with your neighbors and be vigilant. Moreover, call police if you see something suspicious.
“A lot of time we catch most of the burglars by people calling in any suspicious activity in their area or neighborhood or if there's something suspicious to them,” said Officer Shumaker.
“Don’t hesitate to give us a call. We don’t mind coming out and checking to see who’s out walking around,” he added.
Woolwine has downloaded the NextDoor App and used it to connect with more people in the community.
“Now, we just keep a better eye on each other,” she said.
College Station Police will be hosting a College Station Police will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, July 20 at the Lincoln Recreation Center at 6pm.
Residents will be able to speak to the Chief of Police, voice any concerns, or just meet some new neighbors.