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'I'm not safe anymore': Car break-in concerns across St. Louis area

The Auto Theft Task Force has already led to more than 100 arrests, in just the first year.

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Police departments across the state are investigating a string of car break-ins.

According to St. Louis City Police, as of Monday morning, the department had received 2,481 reports of “Theft From Motor Vehicle”. That's compared to 2,255 over the same time period last year.

It's happening all over the St. Louis area, though. 

Sayed Ahmed, who lives in south city, said the problem is 'out of control.'

"I'm not safe anymore because right now they are breaking into the cars, but I'm scared they will start to break into the homes," he said.

Over the past two months, Ahmed said car break-ins are happening daily in his neighborhood.

"This community has always been safe and sound, everything was perfect and stuff, but it just happened suddenly over the past 45 days," he said.

If you walked through the neighborhood on Monday, you could still see cars along the street, taped up from Sunday break-ins.

Ahmed said overnight, eight windows were smashed open.

"It's insane that someone will have the time to do eight cars in one street with no worry, they're not scared or anything," he said.

This isn't just a problem in south city, though.

It's a problem all across the area and it's been happening for quite some time, according to Barry Bayles, with the St. Charles County Police Department.

"We've seen an increase in this particular behavior, this particular crime," he said.

Last year it got so bad in St. Charles County, Bayles said, a region-wide task force was made to crack down on car break-ins, auto thefts and carjacking.

"Our supervisors, our detectives, they basically looked at it and wanted to do something very proactive, rather than just reactive," he said.

That proactivity is paying off too. 

According to Bayles, the Auto Theft Task Force has already led to more than 100 arrests in just the first year and the recovery of many stolen vehicles.

"I think we're seeing a decrease in car break-ins due to this, but also people being more proactive in taking some of the steps that we've been encouraging," he said.

While locking doors and hiding valuables is working in some communities, it's not working in all of them. 

That is why Ahmed is calling on more patrols in his neighborhood, so he can rest easy at night.

"I don't sleep sometimes. I have to keep watching my surveillance all night, just to see if they're gonna get to my cars or not," he said.

Specifically, in St. Charles County, Bayles said, parks are the target of these crimes right now. 

Over in St. Louis County, the Olivette Police Department posted on Facebook addressing car break-ins in their community.

In the weekend post, they wrote that "car break-ins and stolen vehicles are at an all-time high in the St. Louis metro area."

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