MEMPHIS, Tenn. — To lock or not lock your car doors? That is the age-old question in Memphis, where many people leave their car doors unlocked at night in the belief that it will keep crooks from breaking their windows.
In comments on a recent Facebook post on the subject, many WREG readers said it’s just smart to leave the car unlocked.
“You have to leave them unlocked or you’re gonna pay 400$ every week for a new window,” Ben Terhune wrote.
“My daughter’s best friend got off work one night and every car in the parking lot had a broken window but hers because she left it unlocked,” Tonie Liles Rayburn said.
On the other hand, leaving your doors unlocked also makes you an easier target for burglars checking door handles.
“Do these same people leave their house unlocked so they don’t break the door??” Misty Crisman asked.
So which is smarter?
“We need to lock our vehicles,” said Sgt. Michelle Garrison with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
She said the county responded to 782 car break-ins over the last year.
“If I had to guess, more than half of these would be unlocked vehicles,” she said.
Garrison said she knows some people think leaving their car unlocked will save their vehicle from a broken window from criminals who want to get in no matter what.
But while she admits that could always happen, she said that scenario is much less likely.
If you give the signal that your neighborhood is an easy target, they’re more likely to come back, she said.
“If they’ve hit an area before and they’ve been lucrative then they’re going to hit it again,” she said.
Her best advice would be not to leave anything in plain sight, especially weapons.
“A lot of people leave guns in the car and that’s what the majority of these criminals are looking for,” she said.
Bill Bullock of Midtown said he usually means to lock his car.
“If I leave my car unlocked, I’ll come out in the morning and things are out of the glove compartment, or out of the console, and I know someone’s been through it,” Bullock said.
But, he sometimes forgets. That’s what happened Monday when a burglar broke into his unlocked car.
Memphis Police posted surveillance video showing a man walking up to Bullock’s car, check his door handle, then get in and rifle around.
“I knew I had a few dollars in there, not a lot,” Bullock said. “And it’s gone.”
At least his window was left intact.