CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Earlier this week, we spoke with a woman who was trying to alert the community to the fact that many cars are being broken into, often in broad daylight. It happened to her last weekend at the Ballantyne gym.
WBTV contacted CMPD about crime data in this area when this viewer contacted us.
CMPD confirmed that the thefts from vehicles are in both neighborhoods and businesses in the South Division. This includes Ballantyne, Waverly, Arboretum, Quail Hollow and other neighborhoods.
“It was a complete shock; I just had no idea what was going on in this community,” said Jennifer Campbell of Ballantyne.
On Monday, we introduced you to Campbell, whose care was broken at the Morrison Family “Y.”
“I didn’t know this was a known issue at the ‘Y’ so yes, I have a much smaller bag and I carried it with me today during my lesson,” Campbell said.
CMPD said the Morrison Family “Y” has seen a 150 percent increase in car thefts so far this year.
Figures show there were four car thefts at this time last year, compared to 10 this year.
“For auto thefts, everything is up,” said Chris Dozier, captain of the CMPD’s South Division. “It’s happened this year and again, the targeting of these fitness locations where they know the behavior of people coming in and they know they have an extended period of time where there’s not going to be someone getting back in the car.”
For that entire southern division area, car break-ins are up 2 percent.
CMPD adds that fitness centers have seen 24 cases of what happened so far this year, a whopping 71 percent increase over this time last year.
|Fitness center||2021 Theft from auto||2022 Theft from auto|
|Harris YMCA, 5900 Quail Hollow Rd||0||1|
|Orange Theory Quail Corners, 8402 Park Rd||0||0|
|9th round Fitness, 7510 Pineville Rd||0||0|
|Morrison Family YMCA, 9405 Bryant Farms Rd||4||11|
|Sara’s YMCA, 15940 Brixham Hill Ave||3||1|
|LA Fitness, 12325 Copper Way||3||1|
|Crunch Fitness, 16045 Johnston Rd||0||1|
|Sports Connection, 11611 Ardrey Kell Rd||0||1|
|Lifetime Fitness, 11220 Golf Links Dr.||3||6|
|Orange Theory, 8038 Providence Rd||1||2|
“Thieves tend to target these areas because they know people come inside for an extended period of time and a lot of times they don’t want to leave their belongings in the locker room, so they leave them in the car,” Dozier said.
Just because you go to the gym doesn’t mean you’re going to get hit. Police say all fitness centers are not targets; some have shown less crime this year. But CMPD says they believe some of the break-ins and robberies are by organized groups of people from outside the area.
“Once they spot a vehicle they decide they’re going to target it, all it takes is to get in, a quick tap on the window, smash, grab the bag and within 10 seconds they’re gone.” They can process an entire parking lot, multiple vehicles in just a few minutes and be out,” Dozier said.
Police tell WBTV that it’s hard to catch these criminals because it’s a fast-paced crime and they’re usually covered in hats, sunglasses and quickly fleeing the area.
“Unless we can get tag numbers from cars and things like that, where we can associate something with the name, which we often can’t get, it’s very difficult,” Dozier said.
CMPD says when it sees spikes in thefts at fitness centers or other locations, it works with their security team to increase patrols in that area.
Police say this is largely preventable, it just requires an effort on the part of the public by not leaving items in your car.
Earlier this week, the Charlotte YMCA released a statement regarding the recent incident, saying:
“While we are disappointed to hear that a member has suffered a theft from their vehicle in a car park on our property, we offer safety measures and reminders to anyone who visits our branches. At the branch where the incident occurred, we have signage posted throughout the parking lot and at the branch entrances to remind our members and visitors not to leave valuables in their vehicle. We offer free lockers for our members as well as locks that can be borrowed. We encourage visitors to our facilities and all public facilities to keep these reminders in mind as well CMPD Safety Tips. The safety and security of those we serve is our top priority.”
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