Volunteers warn drivers to clean out cars

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In light of a spike in car break-ins across Metro suburbs, some volunteers in one city are taking proactive steps to encourage drivers to clean out their cars.

Volunteers with the Sandy Springs Citizen Patrol surveyed cars around parking lots, peeking inside cars for valuables, and notifying drivers of any visible items.

“It's shocking. We have seen laptops, cell phones, GPSs, wallets, money,” said Nelson Kramer, one of the volunteers and citizen patrol officers.

"It's everything a thief would say, ‘That looks great,’” he said.

Officers leave notices on vehicles throughout parking lots to notify drivers if they left valuables in their car, or a note of praise if a car was free of visible possessions.

When FOX 5 followed volunteers to a local parking lot, citizen patrol officers found close to a dozen cars with visible purses, cell phones, and laptop bags.

"Since July of this year, the beginning of the summer -- we've seen a huge increase with car break-ins," said Captain Mike Lindstrom of the Sandy Springs Police Department. Police said there have been 400 car break-ins in the city since July, and officers have been working to catch the numerous thieves responsible for break-ins.

Car break-ins have risen in cities and suburban areas around metro Atlanta. The city of Atlanta had more than 1,000 car break-ins throughout the past month.

Officers with Sandy Springs Police advise drivers to take out all bags, cell phones, cell phone accessories and purses from vehicles, and avoid visibly stuffing the items in a trunk while in a public area.