Dubuque police say motor vehicle burglaries have increased - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque police say motor vehicle burglaries have increased

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The police department has seen more motor vehicle burglaries happening at community parks.

Despite this trend, crime in Dubuque is going down.

This month, the FBI released its crime statistics for 2009. The numbers show the rate of violent crimes and property crimes both dropped in Dubuque for the second year in a row.

Still, police say that when they see a trend, they like to get the word out so it doesn't grow into something bigger.

In this case, according to Lieutenant Scott Baxter, "We had about, roughly, 30 motor vehicles robberies within the last month, and 10 of those were in park parking lots - close to the river, close to hiking trails - basically anywhere people are leaving their motor vehicles unattended to enjoy the parks or go for a run or whatever."

Of the 10 car burglaries in the past month, four happened in A.Y. McDonald park, two in Eagle Point Park, three in the parking lot of the Gerald "Red" McAleece Park and Recreation Complex and one on Terminal Street.

Police call it a crime of opportunity. All it takes is for somebody to walk by and notice a purse, wallet, laptop or even a loose cup holder of change, and it could prompt a break-in.

"They're virtually all preventable," Baxter said. "If you, first and foremost, don't leave items of value in the passenger or driving compartment of the vehicle, meaning the front seat, backseat, anywhere where someone can see it."

He said the ten motor vehicle burglaries have happened at all times of the day and night, so no matter the time, police suggest parking somewhere very visible.

"Based on some of the geographical locations of some of the motor vehicle burglaries, we believe it's probably someone living in those general areas," Baxter said, of whoever committed the crimes. "We do have some surveillance we're in the process of reviewing, too."

Ultimately, Baxter said, it boils down to common sense. He said some people believe locking the car doors will prevent a smashed window, but he said keeping valuables out of sight is a better strategy.

Even though across-the-board crime rates in Dubuque have dropped over the past two years, Baxter said the city tends to be at or above the national average when it comes to property crimes.

The number of both violent and property crimes dropped from 2008 to 2009 in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. In Waterloo, the number of property crimes dropped, while violent crimes rose by 89 crimes.

Click HERE or see the link on the left to view Iowa cities' FBI crime statistics for 2009.

Online Reporter: Becca Habegger

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