Vehicle thefts and break-ins are on the rise in Kingsport.
“We as law-abiding citizens are really not doing a good enough job to make this difficult for the thieves to take our cars or break into them,” said Tom Patton with the Kingsport Police Department.
Investigators said 314 cars were stolen in Kingsport in 2018, with 43 of them still missing.
More than 500 vehicle break-ins and property thefts also reportedly occured last year.
34 vehicles have been reported stolen this year.
“It’s a rising problem in Kingsport,” said Patton, “but again, it’s not unique to Kingsport.”
Neighboring departments have also told Kingsport Police they’re seeing these types of thefts increase in their communities.
“We need to lock those doors, we need to lock our doors whether we’re in the car or not in the car, whether it’s parked or whether we’re driving it,” he said.
According to Patton, many thefts can happen while leaving your car on to warm up this time of year.
“We just can’t be that trusting with our fellow man in this day in age,” he said.
Other tips include not loaning your cars to people you don’t know well or people with a history of making bad decisions.
Patton said it is also advisable to report these crimes as soon as they happen.
“If one car is reported broken into in a particular neighborhood, and several cars were broken into that night,” he said, “sometimes it’s the same suspect, so it’s really important that even if nothing incredibly valuable was stolen, or even if it was an attempt and was not successful, we need all those reported so we can link them all togeter.”