Automobile break-ins are nearly a daily occurrence, in any community.
Lately, in Greenwood County, it seems such incidents are the crime du jour as law enforcement made arrests, thankfully, in a substantial spate of break-ins.
And while we certainly agree no one has a right to enter another person's automobile without permission, some of the crimes were somewhat self-inflicted. Worse, some of the break-ins resulted in thefts that are wholly preventable.
Residents need to wise up a bit and not leave their autos unlocked. Yes, it's your driveway, but an unlocked car or truck is literally an open invitation to theft, especially among teenagers who are roaming neighborhoods in search of money and items they might sell or pawn.
Some residents, however, are not only leaving an open invitation to theft, they're being extremely irresponsible by leaving weapons in their cars. Even if the car is locked, responsible gun owners do not leave weapons inside — hidden or not — especially overnight.
Some readers very well might fire back we are putting undue focus on victims of crime here, nearly blaming them for a crime committed against them and their property. Respectfully, we disagree. While all of us should expect to be secure in our private property rights, especially in and around our homes, we also must recognize criminals are lurking, ready to strike especially where commission of a crime is easiest.
No one should walk through your front door uninvited, but that does not preclude taking precautionary steps by locking doors at night or when away from home. The same is and should be true with respect to our automobiles. It is one thing to have loose change, some stashed dollars and a handful of CDs stolen from a vehicle, it's another where a gun is involved. Guns should not be left in autos, locked or unlocked. What about in the trunk and out of view, you might ask? Once a criminal opens the car, it usually only takes a quick release of a lever or a push of a button to open the trunk.
Criminals can and do strike any place and at any time. We might not like it, but we have a responsibility to thwart their efforts as much as we can. And there's absolutely nothing sensible about risking the possibility of putting a gun in a criminal's hands. Who knows where that gun might wind up. It might get used in a violent crime resulting in death, it might get sold to someone who then commits a violent crime.
We might not be able to stop these people from breaking into autos or simply opening unlocked auto doors and taking whatever is in plain sight or tucked under a seat or in a console, but we can at the very least do our part to ensure we are not putting weapons in their hands.