Jefferson County Sheriff launches new anti-crime campaign

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo–The sheriff here is trying a new approach to cut down on guns being stolen from unlocked cars.

It’s a simple plan, signs are placed in subdivisions and remind citizens every day to lock their cars to protect it, and any valuables left inside.

It’s fairly easy to find a Jefferson County resident who lives in a neighborhood that has been hit by thieves. Resident Ben Schmidt said, “They were trying to find unlocked vehicles, our neighbors across the street, their daughter’s car got into.”

Criminals will steal anything: coins, laptops, purses and guns that are later used in violent crimes. Sheriff spokesman Grant Bissell said, “We know for a fact that guns being stolen out of vehicles in our county have been used in crimes in other areas where people have been shot and people were killed.”

So why do people leave their cars unlocked and expensive stuff inside? One woman said, “There probably is a false sense of security that we’re safer down here.” Bissell added, “We do live in a safe area but there are bad guys in safe areas as well and they will continue to prey upon you and anybody else who makes themselves an easy target.”

He says it’s common knowledge among criminals that Jefferson County has plenty of easy targets.

The signs are a daily reminder to folks to remove valuables from vehicles and lock them. One woman added, “It’s a nice reminder yeah it’s a nice reminder.”

Madison County, Illinois sent out a warning to citizens after unlocked cars were broken into or stolen Thursday night.

Will this approach have an impact? Schmidt said, time will tell.”

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