SAVANNAH, GA (February 22, 2011): Police are asking the public to help step up the response to thefts from yards, particularly air conditioning units.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Crime Prevention Officer Robert Martir in the Central Precinct is sharing a flyer with residents, advising of the growing number of thefts and tips to help stop them.

Thefts from yards and buildings is the only category of crime up over 2010 levels and is growing. So far this year, 396 cases have been reported compared to 241 during the same time period in 2010, a growth of 64 percent.

While the thefts are spread across all five precincts, Central, with 112 reports, has the highest number. Martir points out that the majority of thefts in most precincts involve air conditioners or parts of air conditioning units.

 “With the price of copper becoming more valuable … we need to come together and take action so thieves know we are watching,” the flyer reads.

Police ask neighbors to watch for suspicious people, particularly around vacant houses and buildings, construction trucks without business markings, non-residents in lanes, and repair workers out of uniform – especially around air-conditioners. Anyone noticing these should contact police immediately with a license plate number, if available, as well as a vehicle description including make, model and color, the number of people involved and any description of the people.

In the Downtown Precinct, the majority of thefts involve bicycles. Police suggest bike owners secure them with tubular steel locks rather than chains, secure them to metal items such as poles and not wooden items that can be broken, and maintain serial numbers of bicycles in case they are stolen. Recovered bikes cannot be directed back to owners without serial numbers or identifying marks.                                                            

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