LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- The Lafayette police department has confirmed that car break-ins are on the rise at Columbian Park. Police say that car break-ins are crimes of opportunity and there are steps everyone can take to stop them from happening.
"You don't hear much about it," said Steve Kerkhov whose car was broken into at Columbian Park. "I didn't realize there was that much vandalism going on down there and that it was that rough in that area."
Steve Kerkhov and his family were attending an Aviators game at Loeb Stadium last weekend. When someone broke their passenger side window and stole his wife's purse. Once they called the police to report what happened, they found out that they weren't the first victims criminals had targeted.
"They said they have had 6 or 8 instances in the last few weeks," said Kerkhov. "So I thought they could have put somebody on foot in the area or been a little more alert. "
Lafayette police are aware of the situation. However, they say car break-ins are a crime of opportunity.
"You have a target-rich environment where there are a lot of people parking their cars and they are leaving valuable inside because they may not want to carry them into the park," said Lt. Randy Sherer with the Lafayette Police Department. "Then when they leave those inside when they are easily visible through the windows that is when you are going to be targeted."
That's why Lt. Sherer says people should take precautions when parking their cars in an environment like the one at Columbian Park.
"Any of the valuables that we have or have brought with us that are inside our car either hide them or put them in the trunk or carry them with you so people can't see them as they are walking by," said Lt. Sherer.
Kerkhov says 30 minutes after the crime occurred the thieves had already used cards in his wife's purse to purchase gas and food.
LPD says there are cameras in several areas surrounding Columbian Park, nfortunately for the Kerkhov's LPD wasn't able to see the break-in of their vehicle on any of the nearby cameras.