Bradenton police see dramatic increase in car burglaries as summer months begin

The Bradenton Police Department is noting a dramatic spike in car burglaries over the past week, and it’s a trend they are prepared to see.

"Unfortunately, we tend to see these types of crimes increase during the summer months, and just last week here in Bradenton we saw a 350% increase in motor vehicle burglaries," said Meredith Censullo, the spokesperson for BPD.

That’s a startling number for a small city. Bradenton police said it’s because they investigated nine car burglaries last week, and that was up from two car burglaries from the week before.

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Censullo said criminals are taking anything, from money to credit and debit cards and guns.

"That’s the part that really concerns us because last week alone we had three guns stolen from vehicles," she said.

Those guns end up on the streets. It’s a trend happening across the country, according to Everytown Research, a non-profit that recently analyzed FBI crime data.

"An analysis of that data showed that in the past decade you’ve seen the number of weapons stolen from cars triple," said Censullo. "There are more guns on the streets these days that have been stolen from vehicles than any other source. So, these are guns that were purchased lawfully by someone, and they weren’t secured, and now they’re out on the street."

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Burglars can take advantage of bad lighting or no security cameras, but crime can happen anywhere.

"Let’s say you want to meet up with your friend, and you want to go for a walk along the Riverwalk and you don’t lock your car. In an instant, somebody could get into your car," Censullo said. "It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the dark of night. It could be while you’re out with your kids out in a park, and you just forget to lock your car."

Bradenton police said they historically see a summertime spike. And while a lot of the time juveniles commit those crimes, Censullo said it’s not always young people behind the crime of opportunity.

"You can own a gun, you can travel with your gun, don’t leave it in your car. Lock it up, take it inside," said Censullo.

Police said the simplest thing to do is to lock your car and keep your valuables and any guns out of sight. If you have a gun stolen, Bradenton police said to report it, so they can track it if it’s ever used in a crime. 


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