Recent car break-ins in Dawson County subdivisions have Sheriff Billy Carlisle advising residents to take extra precautions against thefts this holiday season.
According to Carlisle, the sheriff's office received an increase in break-ins and thefts of cars at the beginning of December, particularly in the Biscayne and Chestatee on Lanier subdivisions.
Carlisle said that people are prone to leaving items in their cars when they are at home, as well as not locking their trunks or car doors.
"Even at home or in your neighborhood, don't leave anything out in plain view," Carlisle said. Thieves can be in and out of your car in seconds."
Carlisle advised that if residents live in a subdivision, they should learn who lives there.
"If you see someone who doesn't look right, I'd encourage you to call 911 and report them," he said. "If you see a suspicious car riding around the neighborhood, get their license plate number if you can and other information. Don't approach them, but get as much as you can to report.
We can send someone down to look for them, and then we'll also have that information if we do have a break-in."
Carlisle also said that so many car break-ins are a seasonal issue, as there have been multiple cases of car-related thefts at the North Georgia Premium Outlets in addition to subdivisions.
The large numbers of people shopping at the malls, dropping off packages in their cars and returning to shop can create a haven for thieves.
"Unfortunately, when police go to the outlet mall or a subdivision, thieves can see them go by and break in that car and take items and be gone before patrol officers turn around and come back," Carlisle said. "When they are patrolling parking lots and are watching people, they don't know whose cars are whose. An officer can be standing and watching people who are fixing to break into a car that isn't theirs, and the officer won't know if it's their car or not. That's why you have to be really careful about what you leave in your car."
According to Carlisle, police are patrolling as much as they can, but need assistance in reducing car-related theft.
If you see any suspicious activity, contact the Dawson County Sheriff's Office at (706) 344-3636.