CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The city of Corvallis is experiencing an increase in home burglaries and car break-ins this spring.
We spoke with police about hot to protect your property and why it's a chronic problem.
In Corvallis, property crimes in the months of March, April and May are showing a significant increase compared to last year.
"We've actually seen a 68 percent increase in burglaries between the two time periods this year and last year," says Lt. Joel Goodwin with the Corvallis Police Department.
He says there has also been a nearly-50 percent increase in car break-ins.
"We've had over 200 cars broken into in that time period this year."
Police say most of the home burglaries were not forced entry, meaning people were breaking in through unlocked doors and windows.
"We always need to remember to keep those best practices of locking doors and keeping windows closed when we're away," Lt. Goodwin says. "Most burglaries occur when people aren't at home."
Goodwin says not to keep items in your car, saying some car prowlers are simply checking for unlocked doors while others will break in if they see something valuable.
"Even if it's an empty bag or something that doesn't mean anything to you, it could mean several hundred dollars in damage to a window or a lock."
At this time, police say it's unclear if the trend is related to the pandemic and stay-at-home order, but Lt. Goodwin says the bulk of these crimes are usually committed by a few individuals.
"They may get into 4, 5 or 6 cars in one night. If we have a few car prowlers that are very prolific, and we are able to arrest them and lodge them at the jail, obviously those would go down in occurrence."
But while burglary is a felony, breaking into a car can be a misdemeanor.
"Unfortunately, because it's a misdemeanor, it's not necessarily uncommon that we would have to issue a citation rather than having to take them to the jail."
While stats for June aren't available yet, Goodwin says they're working to get them down.
"We've obviously made some changes and adjustments in the way we're patrolling and being proactive to try to deter this."
This in the hope that summertime stats look better than spring's.
Goodwin adds it's helpful to report property crimes even if you don't expect to get your things back. He says just the data itself can help them track down suspects.