DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — It is only 33 days into the new year and law enforcement agencies around the Triangle are already seeing an increase in car break-ins.

CBS 17 wanted to find out why so we began to dig a little deeper and spoke to law enforcement.

CBS 17 spoke to officers with Raleigh, Durham and Creedmoor police departments. They all say car break-ins are a preventable problem.

“If you don’t lock your doors — secure those weapons,” Durham Police Officer Lawanda Mock said.

She and Officer Alton McClop have been with Durham Police Department for the past two decades. She said this is a problem they see during the winter and summer months each year.

“You leave your car unlocked, you leave valuables in plain view in your car, you leave your keys in your car — all those things are inviting criminals and that provides the opportunity for cars to be broken into,” McCallop said.

According to data from Durham police, there were a total of 215 incidents reported involving theft from a motor vehicle from Jan. 1 to Jan. 28.

183 of the incidents were larcenies from motor vehicles with property targeted.

Tools accounted for 30.9% (119) of the total property stolen during these incidents. Tools were by far the standout property being targeted with the following other property types following:

  • Money — 9.1% (35)
  • Credit/Debit Cards — 8.3% (32)
  • Identifying Documents — 7.5% (29)
  • Clothes — 6.8% (26)

That’s more than a 10% increase compared to the year before.

“They’re looking for anything of value: money, lose change, computers, cell phones and of course guns,” McClop said. According to Raleigh Police, most times these stolen guns are used to commit violent crimes.

On Jan. 16 — just 20 minutes north of Durham, Creedmoor police say there were 33 cars broken into in just one night.

Mock said she has heard all of the stories of why people leave their cars unlocked. Most of them shared they were only leaving for a second or it’s too cold out so they warmed the car up before using it. However, there is one that is a popular reason for leaving them unlocked.

“People may not lock their doors because they don’t want to replace a window from being broken,” Mock said. According to J.D. Power, the average cost to repair a broken car window is between $100 and $400.

According to Data from Raleigh police —

Total number of confiscated/recovered firearms:

2021:  938

2022:  1107

Increase of %18

Total number of firearms stolen from vehicles:

2021:  249

2022:  332

Increase of %33

There is currently no penalty for gun owners who leave their weapons in unlocked cars.