Modern technology used by thieves who are entering cars and trucks parked outside homes on streets and in driveways has police scratching their heads.
Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman said Tuesday there is strong evidence of car lock jammers, devices that mimic the frequency of keyless remote entry units, being used across the city.
Not only that, police have dealt with a six-month surge in the number of vehicles broken into or entered and suspect the jamming devices may be added to their problem, according to information shared Tuesday with the city public safety committee.
Police Capt. Timothy Miller, head of the criminal investigations division, confirmed patrol units have been busy investigating a rash of vehicles broken into.
"We're just getting crushed," he said. "No neighborhood is immune."
According to the latest police statistics, city police have responded to about 100 investigations involving vehicles broken into or entered between Jan. 1 and June 30. That doesn't mean 100 vehicles because some reports include many vehicles in one investigation.
Among them, Foresman said, are incidents where the owners of the vehicle have had valuables taken and there has been no evidence of forced entry seen. No windows smashed or doors jimmied, he added.
"I suspect use of a type of master key that mimics the frequency of the owners' keyless remote," Foresman said. "There's simply no forced entry, but stuff is stolen. It can only mean thieves are using the modern technology."
He described such devices as clickers that are opening door locks. Foresman urged owners of any vehicles, including those who park on the street and in driveways or under car ports in the open, to take more precautions.
"Just locking your car isn't enough security," he said. "Lock all valuables in the trunk or take them inside the house."