Thefts from Vehicles on Daniel Island

On Friday, November 9th, Team 5 took reports for thefts from approximately ten vehicles in the Smythe Park and Edgefield Park neighborhoods. The incidents, which took place overnight, involved no forced entry, as all of the involved vehicles had been left unlocked. Most notably, there were two firearms stolen from these vehicles.

These guns are now in hands that shouldn’t have them. It is unknown at this point whose hands these are – a juvenile? a career criminal? someone stealing to feed a drug addiction? It is also unknown what the individual’s intentions are for these firearms. Will they be kept as trophies from “that crazy night?” Will they be pawned for quick cash? Will they be traded for drugs? Will they be sold to someone who is prohibited from getting a gun legally? Will they be discarded to be found by a child? Will they be used to commit a robbery? Will they be used in a mass shooting? We don’t know. We do know, however, that they are now in the hands of a criminal, and that is a very bad thing.

Since Lieutenant Byrne took command of Team 5 in the spring of 2015, the single biggest crime problem plaguing the area has been thefts from unlocked vehicles. (The second biggest problem has been the theft of unlocked vehicles with the keys left inside of them). Nearly 100% of the thefts from vehicles reported to Team 5 have involved unlocked cars. This includes most, if not all, of the incidents in which guns have been stolen from vehicles.

“This situation simply cannot continue. I have long said that I have two jobs in my current position. The first is to keep the citizens of Team 5 safe, and the second is to give them a sense of peace and security. I often worry that the general sense of peace and security is so great that some individuals falsely believe that they can forego basic personal security precautions, such as locking doors, securing valuables, and so forth. And in an ironic twist, these inactions – taken because of a heightened sense of peace and security – create the very conditions that attract criminal activity such as we have experienced.” – Stated Lieutenant Byrne in an email to Jane Baker, VP of Community Services at the Daniel Island POA.

Therefore, Team 5 respectfully asks for your assistance in spreading the word among all residents and neighbors, businesses, and visitors, about the problems we’ve been facing, and the need to take these basic security precautions. This extends beyond just locking cars. It includes closing garage doors at night and when nobody is home, locking doors to homes and garages, securing unattended bicycles, securing jewelry and other valuables when service providers are working in a home, and – so very importantly – reporting suspicious activity to the police at the time it is occurring. This can be accomplished by calling 9-1-1 or the non-emergency line (843) 743-7200.

The Charleston Police Department, via its Crime Prevention Unit and social media platforms, regularly spreads messages about issues facing the community, and they provide many useful tips to help keep citizens safe and secure. One strategy CPD has used in recent months is the #9PMRoutine campaign, which is designed to remind residents to do a quick double-check at 9:00 each night. Are the cars locked? Is the house locked? Is the garage door closed? Are the outside lights on? The Crime Prevention Unit and Team 5 are more than happy to discuss these and other measures and assist any citizen with finding ways to increase their personal safety and security.