SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Springfield Police report a sharp rise in the number of car break-ins in certain parts of the city.
While they are reminding people to lock up their vehicles, they also say they're honing in on where the next break-ins may be.
Springfield Police spokesman Ryan Walsh shows us inside R-TAC, the Real Time Analysis Center, deep inside Springfield Police headquarters.
It's a tracking tool that, Walsh says, gives officers a better look at, in this case, car break-in patterns, and helps them determine where and when thieves may strike next.
"So you look over here and the Oak Grove area. They tend to happen between 1 and 5:30 in the morning. Over the past couple of weeks, the 16 Acres neighborhood has definitely seen an uptick," Walsh tells us.
Walsh tells Western Mass News, by using R-TAC, dispatchers are able to direct patrols to certain areas.
Lately, that's the 16 Acres neighborhood.
"There's definitely increased patrols in the areas that are seeing this. Our crime analysts do a nice job in pinpointing and predicting some of the crime. When an officer is not out on a call, a supervisor will direct them to patrol this area in-between those times, as that is the predictive nature that there may be break-ins in that area overnight," continued Walsh.
But Walsh says, in 99% of the recent car break-ins, doors were unlocked or windows were open.
"Please lock your doors. People are just looking for crimes of opportunity. Make yourself a hard target, not a soft target," says Walsh.
Of the fifteen car break-ins so far this month, six happened in 16 Acres. fourteen of the fifteen were those so-called soft targets.
While the R-TAC unit continues to track trends, Walsh says warmer weather brings out more people looking for those crimes of opportunity, and reminds people to roll up those windows and lock up those vehicles.