Helena Police warn of increase in vehicle thefts and break-ins

Posted at 5:23 PM, Dec 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 20:12:00-05

HELENA – Helena police are warning residents to keep their vehicles locked and their valuables out of sight, as vehicle break-ins and thefts continue to rise in the area.

Assistant Police Chief Steve Hagen says the trend started earlier this year and has continued to remain higher than usual.

He says thieves are targeting vehicles where valuables are visible and even locked doors and the light of day are not preventing them from taking what they see.

“Whenever someone, whoever’s stealing stuff out of cars sees the availability or the opportunity to steal those items they’re doing it,” says Hagen. “Doesn’t matter if it’s daytime or nighttime, whether it’s a private lot or a large public parking lot, it’s the same thing. None of them seem to deter anyone from doing it.”

Here’s a look at some recent figures on vehicle break-ins and thefts:

For the six months from June through November of 2017, there were 159 thefts from motor vehicle cases and 79 stolen vehicles.

For that same period this year, those numbers doubled, to 298 thefts from motor vehicles and 141 stolen vehicles.

Assistant Chief Hagen says always lock your vehicle and keep valuables like wallets, purses and gifts in the truck or hidden the best you can.

He adds that there have been many vehicles stolen recently while they’re being warmed on cold days, so use a spare key or an auto-start to keep it locked if you plan to warm it up.

Reporting by Melissa Jensen for MTN News