Thefts from cars increase over past two years in Portland – KATU
PORTLAND, Ore. – A woman says some of her family’s most precious belongings were stolen from a car in Portland, where vehicle break-ins are up citywide.
KATU’s On Your Side Investigators dug up statistics showing thefts from vehicles increased by about 33 percent over the past two years, according to city reports from March 1, 2013 to Feb. 28 of this year.
The Portland Police Bureau said although there has been a recent increase, overall the rate of car prowls is down by about 50 percent from the mid 1990s, according to data from Portland State University.
Kassandra Kirksey said items stolen from her car’s trunk in Southeast Portland last Thursday are extremely hard if not impossible to replace.
“I had baby pictures and all kinds of things in there,” said Kirksey. “Our birth certificates and our social security cards, and all of my medical bills that I’m taking care of right now … all the extra set of keys to my car and all of the documentation on my vehicle.”
Kirksey said everything was inside of a black Liz Claiborne duffel bag with wheels, a black backpack and a black, small duffel bag.
She and her three children just moved here from Hawaii.
The theft happened only a few hours after they got off the plane last week.
“I was very tired and I didn’t actually realize I didn’t lock the doors,” said Kirksey. “It’s not something that’s a priority in Hawaii where I lived.”
Kirksey’s 12-year-old daughter discovered the break-in Thursday morning.
Kirksey said she was devastated because jewelry left to her by her late aunt was also stolen.
“It’s extremely overwhelming to have a move happening and to be looking for a home and then to put all of this on top of it,” said Kirksey.
She and her children are staying at the home of a friend, Brenda Gunderson.
Gunderson lives in the Reed neighborhood, where thefts from vehicles rose by nearly 60 percent over the past two years.
“You become really vigilant,” Gunderson told KATU, “and then you let down your guard for a second and then you get hit again.”
Gunderson said thieves have ripped off her truck and her van and that her family’s been hit about a dozen times in the last eight years.
Police say the best way to prevent car prowls is to not leave unattended valuables in your car.
Kirksey said she’s offering up to a $1,000 reward for the return of her belongings.