NORFOLK -- The Ghent neighborhood has seen a large amount of car break-ins since the beginning of the year.
According to online crime data from Norfolk Police Department the number of thefts from cars or car parts was 25 from January 1 to January 16.
The same database shows the figure to be 51 since the beginning of November.
'Some of the business owners will be supportive enough to replace a window for their employees,' said Ted Warren, owner of Charlie's Cafe. 'It's gotten so bad that they've replaced so many windows that they've had to say, 'Look, I'm sorry, I can't do it anymore. You're gonna have to park somewhere different, but make sure you clean everything out of your car.''
Warren, who serves as Vice President of Ghent Business Association, learned of the spike in car break-ins when officers stopped by his restaurant on Granby Street to tell him about an increase in commercial burglaries. (Days after the visit, Warren told 13News broke into a storage shed at the business and stole a generator and other equipment worth about $4,000.)
In December, Warren's daughter was the victim of a car break-in. The person responsible took her gym bag.
'Don't let anything in the car that anybody can see. Don't leave change. Don't even leave a cigarettes,' Warren advised. 'They'll break through the window for a cigarette, so make sure you clean the seats.'
'Never let your guard down, ever,' offered Liz Hillard who owns Preserve Skin off 21st Street.
Several of the break-ins have taken place on or near the 21st Street corridor.
'Realize that, you know, it's winter, and it's rainy, and it's cold, and no one's hanging outside and looking out for you as much as they usually do,' Hillard said. 'We just have to look out for one another.'