The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Police urge Johnson County residents to be vigilant due to an uptick in car burglaries

Car burglaries have increased over the past two weeks.
An+Iowa+City+police+car+is+seen+on+March+2%2C+2023.
Avi Lapchick
An Iowa City police car is seen on March 2, 2023.

Johnson County police are encouraging vigilance from the community after a countywide uptick in car burglaries was recently reported.

On Oct. 24, the North Liberty Police Department made a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that there has been an increase in reports of smash-and-grab car burglaries over the last two weeks.

Police say the crimes are opportunistic with criminals usually conducting surveillance on vehicles before breaking into them, allowing them to flee the scene within seconds. The criminals are usually looking for ID’s and credit cards that they can use once in another jurisdiction.

Police believe the burglaries are related to groups that travel across the country committing car burglaries.

North Liberty Police Investigator Jordan Gallagher said the increase in burglaries happens in spurts around every three to four months. Gallagher said police are looking at 14 or 15 car burglaries within the county over the past two weeks.

Gallagher said the burglaries have not just been taking place in Johnson County, but Linn County, Dubuque County, and Muscatine County have also been experiencing an increase in the number of car burglary reports as the robbing groups move across the state.

Gallagher said police are seeing that these groups do not care if the car is locked, they are still breaking into cars. To keep items safe, police are encouraging the public to keep valuables out of sight or in the trunk, as well as keeping cars in well-lit areas.

Gallagher said there is not a set timeframe for when the robberies happen and usually go throughout the whole day. It is hard to predict when the groups will leave for different areas, however, police hope the cold weather will encourage groups to move.

According to data from Iowa City Police Department’s annual report, 280 cars were burglarized in 2022, and 145 cars were burglarized in 2021. This is the highest number of cars burglarized in the last five years with 2018 having the second-highest record of 268 cars robbed.

ICPD’s Public Information Officer Lee Hermiston wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that thefts from vehicles are a constant concern. Members of the community are encouraged to be vigilant about securing valuables year-round.

Some safety tips for keeping valuables safe include parking in well-lit areas, closing and locking all doors and windows, hiding valuables, and not leaving a vehicle running.

Public Information Officer Hayley Bruce wrote in an email to the DI that the University of Iowa Public Safety Department has not identified an uptick in vehicle burglaries on campus.

Along with parking in well-lit areas and keeping the car locked, Bruce wrote that having an audible car alarm system and a steering wheel lock can help protect people from potential car burglaries.

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About the Contributors
Jack Moore, News Reporter
he/him/his
Jack Moore is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. Jack is from Cedar Rapids Iowa, and he reports on crime and courts for the news section and creates media content for the digital section at the The Daily Iowan. Along with working at The Daily Iowan, Jack works for the University of Iowa's UI-REACH program as a Resident Assistant. UI-REACH is a program for students with learning, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities intended to provide support to these students throughout their college experience. Additionally, Jack is involved in Iowa City's live music scene as he plays bass for local Iowa City band "Two Canes".
Avi Lapchick, Arts Editor
(she/her/hers)
Avi Lapchick is an arts editor at The Daily Iowan. A fourth-year student studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa, she previously held the positions of staff photojournalist, summer arts editor, and assistant arts editor at the DI. She is happiest when she is writing or painting.