Car thefts spike in North, Hermitage and West precincts

 

They’re neighborhoods known for affordable housing, rapid growth and new restaurants.

They are also the places that have seen the highest spikes in car thefts, according to data provided by the Metro Nashville Police Department.

During the same week last month, police responded to two calls involving cars stolen with children inside.

“Sir, I have a stolen car with children in the back of it,” a clerk can be heard saying on a 911 call.

Those incidents make up just part of the 973 car thefts reported this year to Metro Police. Compared to this time last year, car thefts are up more than 12 percent county wide. North Precinct: 50 percent increase Hermitage Precinct: 31 percent increase West Precinct: 10 percent increase Madison: 2 percent increase South Precinct: 0.4 percent decrease East Precinct: 22 percent decrease Central Precinct: 34 percent decreaseSo why are some neighborhoods seeing a higher increase?

Police said the reason deals with the abundance of convenience stores and gas stations in those areas, places where people tend to leave their cars running or unattended.

Last summer the I-Team watched police confront multiple drivers who left their keys in their cars at the same convenience store.

Police said they’ve also seen an increase in teens stealing cars.

Janet Abeja said it happened to her last year.

“I was a little frightened a stranger was driving my vehicle,” Abeja said. “At this point, I’m at the mercy of a 15-year-old.”

Abeja said her car was stolen in Antioch after her brother left the keys in the backseat.

Police said the department’s juvenile task force is cracking down on the issue.

This year alone officers have recovered more than 23 cars stolen by teens, according to Metro Police.

But whatever the location, Abeja said the best defense is staying alert.

“I believe it’s a city-wide problem and Nashville’s growing and I think we need to grow with the city and be more precautious,” Abeja said.

Police said the worst thing you can do is leave your keys in the cars and walk away.

South, East and Central precincts reported a decrease in car thefts over the past year.

Officers credit the drop in these areas to a heavier police presence and educating drivers through their Park Smart initiative.

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