Over the course of the last year, North Shore residents have gotten relaxed or forgetful when it comes to locking their car doors.
For example, Fred Leute, chief of Port Jefferson’s code enforcement, said that over the past month, village code has been receiving calls about people rummaging through open vehicles.
He said that right now, thanks to Ring camera footage, they have seen three separate people on camera trying to open car doors.
“They’re looking for loose change or cash,” he said. “They’re checking for open doors — not even looking inside.”
Leute said this can be prevented.
“Lock your doors,” he said. “Double check.”
And while the village experienced these incidents over the last few weeks, he said that this problem isn’t confined to just one area.
“We’re aware of what’s going on,” Leute said. “It’s happening all over.”
A spokesperson from the Suffolk County Police Department said several North Shore hamlets have reported thefts from motor vehicles. These numbers cannot verify if a car was unlocked or not.
From January 2021 until this Jan. 22, there have been 111 reported thefts from a motor vehicle in Old Field, Poquott, Port Jefferson, Rocky Point, Selden, Setauket and Stony Brook.
Old Field and Poquott had the least amount, with just two each in the fall, while Selden experienced 46 thefts — the most happening in July, August and December of last year.
Port Jefferson reported 10, 13 for Rocky Point, 17 for Setauket and 21 for Stony Brook.
These numbers also do not include thefts of parts from the vehicle like tires or catalytic converters.
But along with small thefts from inside easy-to-reach cars, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said during a recent press conference that eight cars were stolen across Suffolk County in one week — Dec. 19 through Dec. 23.
“Many victims of vehicle theft not only leave their cars unlocked, but they leave key fobs in plain sight, either on the passenger seat, the driver’s seat or in the cup holder,” Bellone said during the Dec. 23 Hauppauge press event. “This allows car thieves to easily enter the vehicle and take off.”