Why police struggle to stop car break-ins

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Thieves who break into cars are so brazen, they`ll do it with people around.  Many criminals look at your car as their own personal bank.  Most of them are organized.  They`re also very hard to catch.

(Map – St. Louis car break-ins for July)

One YouTube video even shows a guy who poses for the camera and then breaks into five cars in three minutes.  The video says he describes it as a `sport` and his `purpose in life.`  If  you look closely in the background, you`ll see he`s doing it with people around.

St. Louis County Police Captain Troy Doyle explained one reason why these thieves seem so fearless.  Captain Doyle said, 'These individuals know that it`s a misdemeanor charge, so they know even if they`re caught nothing serious is going to happen to them, which is kind of disturbing.'

So police try to make bigger cases by looking for patterns and going undercover.   They did it with Jarrod Parker.  Parker went to Federal prison after six different police agencies tracked his car break-ins to a larger scam of transferring the stolen credit cards to his name.

It`s tough for police to even make the initial identification.  Captain Doyle added, 'They usually bring a stolen car to the scene, because even if law enforcement gets behind them and run the license plate, it comes back stolen so you can`t trace it back to the individual.'

And they`ll run from police, using a term called 'High Speed`n It,' which takes advantage of police departments with strict `no chase' policies.

Captain Doyle warned, 'We use our aircraft more at night time because if you think about, even when we spot these individuals it`s very difficult to pursue them because the risk outweighs the reward.'
St. Louis City Police recently began putting detailed crime statistics online, so that you can see exactly what`s happening  and where.

Fox 2 pulled out car break-ins.  The City saw a two year high this past July, 545 car break-ins.  When we compared the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2012, we found reports up 9% in St. Louis City.
St. Louis County reports the exact same rise when comparing August 2013 to August 2012.

You play a role in that.  Criminals wouldn`t break into so many cars if they didn`t think they could make a ton of cash off of what you leave inside.  Remember, there`s no such thing as a hiding place in your car, because there are only so many spots to try hiding things.  Thieves can check all of them in seconds.

We`ve taken St. Louis City`s crime data and plotted every car break-in report for July - so you can check your neighborhood.

E-mail Chris.Hayes@TvStl.com
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