COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX)- Local police departments are still working to catch criminals during the COVID-19 crisis. While they may be social distancing and limiting some of their public interaction, they're still looking to arrest criminals.
College Station Police have seen a pattern recently near Holleman Drive. This week a suspected thief was caught trying to get into a pickup near Holleman and Glade Streets.
The owner's security cameras were rolling and their automatic lights shining a light on the potential crime.
Police said half of the recent vehicle burglaries have happened in the Holleman Drive area.
“Well it’s kind of nerve-racking," said Lanna Lytle who lives on Woodsman Drive and near several of the recent vehicle burglaries.
In the past few weeks, she saw someone shining a flashlight out of a car. She thought they might be looking for street numbers but not so sure now.
"But now it’s kind of like were they looking for a house or were they scooping vehicles," said Lytle.
Police tell us the spike in incidents started over the weekend. They included the theft of a firearm.
"We’re looking at about 8-19 vehicle burglaries. I know that's not an exact number but it's early in the reporting process," explained Officer Tristen Lopez with the College Station Police Department.
He said punishments for certain crimes can be more severe during a disaster declaration. He said prosecutors can utilize harsher penalties.
"Those offenses are going to enhance," said Lopez.
"It makes it worse because things are already crazy right now because people are stuck at home," said Lytle. "And when you go outside you realize great now I have an extra expense because my car has been broken into," she said.
College Station Police report vehicle burglaries are down so far this year. From January to mid-March there have been 101. For the same time period in 2019, there were 145.
We also checked with the Bryan Police Department. They report they had 149 vehicle burglaries from January 1 to March 24 last year. So far this year there have been 81.