Police urge caution following thefts from vehicles in Victorian Village, Italian Village

One resident said thieves smashed not one, but two windows, and made off with his laptop.

Vehicles line the streets in the Italian Village and Victorian Village neighborhoods near the popular Short North, which can make a target for would-be thieves.

Brad, whose last name will be kept confidential, just moved to the neighborhood 10 days ago and received a less than warm welcome.

"I just came out to work and the windows were all smashed in and I didn't comprehend it all at once," he said.

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Brad said thieves smashed not one, but two windows, and made off with his laptop.

"You just get complacent. It's a nice neighborhood, and you don't expect it," he said.

CrimeTracker 10 searched Columbus police reports between December 4, 2018, and January 5, 2019, and uncovered 33 complaints of theft from a motor vehicle. The reports showed more than half of the smash-and-grab crimes occurred in the evening when most people are still awake between 6 and 10 p.m.

One-third of the crimes happened on a Tuesday.

Police reports reveal thieves stole at least two laptops and even a handgun valued at $700. Thieves have also smashed car windows for nothing more than a handful of spare change.

Police say most thieves are looking for crimes of opportunity and the number one thing you can do to protect your property is to completely empty your vehicles of phone chargers, loose change, and even grocery bags.

Police said if your vehicle has a security system, activate it, and if not, you can purchase a fake or 'dummy' anti-theft alarm system complete with a flashing red or blue light. It may not be the real deal, but police say anytime you can give a thief a reason to take a pass on your vehicle, you've already won half the battle.

Columbus police urged people living in Victorian and Italian Village to call for help immediately if they notice any suspicious person lingering near vehicles or peering into windows.