The Watch with Will Kennedy: Car Thefts Up in Uptown

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by Will Kennedy
Bio | Email | Follow: @willkennedynews by Photojournalist Bronson Hill

CHARLOTTE, NC -- Crowds come pouring into Uptown Charlotte every day, taking advantage of all the city has to offer, and opening up opportunities for criminals. Especially car thieves.

"Came the next morning, and everything that was in there was gone," says Uptown resident Angie Carmichael.

Carmichael parked her car on the street in fourth ward. Someone broke in and took her belongings. She was lucky. It could have been worse.

Picture this: You head to uptown for a night out on the town: dinner, drinks, maybe take in a baseball game.

You have a great time. 

End of the night, you come to your parking spot.

Your car is gone! It's been stolen! And it's a terrifying feeling.

CMPD officers in the Central Division, which includes uptown, are seeing an increase in car thefts.

Last year there were seventeen. In four months this year, they've had twenty-five.

"If you think about twenty-five cars compared to the thousands, and thousands, and thousands of people that come Uptown, the number's not that big," says CMPD Captain Mike Campagna. "But you don't want to be that person."

Twenty-one of those twenty-five thefts are people driving into uptown.

Visitors know parking can be a problem. Do you go with a garage? A surface lot? A spot in the street? And who doesn't want to save a few bucks?

But making the wrong choice can cost you, dearly.

"The circumstances behind the theft, they vary greatly. But there are some things I think we can do to help prevent those," says Capt. Campagna.

Captain Mike Campagna and his officers are trying to get the message out about steps you can take to make sure this nightmare scenario doesn't happen to you.

A lot of it is common sense.

"They see a valuable in there. So a laptop, a tablet, a phone, or a phone charger. They go into the car, they look around, and they find a key, and now they've hit the jackpot," explains Capt. Campagna.

"Keep your valuables locked inside your glove box. Don't leave your keys in your car. And that should probably help you out," says Elizabeth resident Eric Heil.

CMPD says criminals are looking for an easy score, and they recommend parking in a lot or garage with good lighting and an on-site attendant.

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