Police Tackle High Number of Car Break-ins in Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, Wv. - The City of Martinsburg has seen an increase of car break-ins since the beginning of this year.

Police are noticing a trend in certain areas, something they are looking to change. Many people leave their car doors unlocked, thinking nothing will happen, but it's a crime of opportunity for thieves.

There have been 52 break-ins so far, which means about 10 or 11 each month.

"It seems that we've had relatively 15 I think, 10 or 15, over in that area, along Foxcroft, which is pretty much a shopping district and restaurants, things of that nature, smashing up windows," said Andrew Garcia, corporal of Martinsburg Police Department.

However, Foxcroft is not the only area that's being hit frequently. There have been 15 on Winchester Avenue, 10 in the downtown area, 10 surrounding Irish Hill, four from Prentiss Point, and two between King Street and Wilson Street.

Police say thieves check door handles and have even smashed down windows, taking money, GPS systems, laptops and cell phones.

A few suggestions officials give would be to lock your doors no matter where you go or how long you will be there, leave valuables out of sight, and install an audible alarm. The noise may drive criminals away and will attract attention to neighbors and police.

"If you're going to the mall, you're going to restaurants, tuck your valuables somewhere. Put them in your glove box; maybe put them in your trunk because they're not going to have enough time to go through your whole vehicle. They see what's in plain sight," adds Garcia.

While many of these thefts are not reported, police are urging everyone to let them know so they know which areas are hit the most.

By reporting these cases, it will give police a chance to check those areas out more frequently.

"We get out with anybody that might be lingering in shattered areas, cut through alleys of that nature to make sure if anything, we had a contact with that person," adds Garcia.

Police say they are increasing their patrols and making their presence known in the city. Sometimes it's hard for them to catch one in the act, but they they are hoping with this partnership effort, it will stop the ones who are committing the crimes.

If your car is broken into, whether an item was stolen or not, you should call the non-emergency number at 304-264-2100.

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