WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The West Palm Beach Police Department is battling an uptick in car thefts and break-ins, particularly leading to stolen guns.
Officer Seth Buxton told NewsChannel 5 that the main problem is people leaving car doors unlocked and leaving valuables like jewelry, laptops and firearms inside.
"We actually had vehicles broken into where we suspect the thief is looking just for firearms," Buxton said. "They'll try car door handles or break into vehicles for guns."
Buxton urges car owners to lock car doors and keep all valuables locked away and inside their homes — particularly guns.
He also urges people to lock the doors of their homes, install a doorbell camera if possible and keep porch lights on both in the front and back of the home.
Another helpful tip, he said, is to know your neighbors.
"So that they can know who belongs and who doesn't belong on your property, and vice versa, you look out for your neighbors who live across the street," Buxton said.
He also urged people to take pictures of their valuables, including serial numbers. This can help officers track down stolen items and link them back to the thief if someone does steal them.
The warning from police comes after a couple reported a home theft in the historic Northwood neighborhood of West Palm Beach.
According to the police incident report filed by the woman, who wasn't able to talk to NewsChannel 5 on camera, a man used a ladder to climb up into a top window of a shed, stole an air compressor for a car, and climbed back out.
The theft occurred while she and her husband sat inside watching soccer at 1 p.m. on Nov. 27.
Police said they haven't seen an uptick in home break-ins or thefts but are increasing their presence in the Northwood neighborhood. The increase in patrols is called the Broadway Detail.
Officers said they are cracking down on robberies and thefts, speeding and have made a significant amount of arrests because of it.
If you experience a theft or a break-in, whether in your home or car, police ask you to report it to them immediately. If you have any video or pictures from surveillance cameras or doorbell cameras, they ask you to share that as well.