A spate of car break-ins in which electronic items such as laptop computers, MP3 players, and GPS devices were stolen in Chinatown is prompting area Town Watch leaders to urge visitors and residents to be cautious.
From March 29 to April 3, there were five such car burglaries in the area, police said.
Joe Eastman, coordinator of Chinatown Town Watch and the Sixth Police District Advisory Committee, noted that the break-ins occurred in daylight hours and at night. Eastman said most of the burglaries involved vehicles of visitors.
"My advice is to lock up everything," Eastman said. "It's usually things that are visible that are stolen from cars."
Police said thieves can notice a ring left by suction brackets used to hold GPS devices to windshields or dashboards and use such observations to target cars. They recommended that motorists wipe away any such tell-tale rings before leaving their vehicles.
Lt. Frank Milillo, of the Sixth Police District said police have noticed a spike in car burglaries in the area over the last three weeks. He said two arrests of repeat offenders have been made, but urged drivers to store any bags and valuables in their trunks. Milillo said that additional police have been deployed to the area and that officers have been informing visitors about protecting valuables left in their cars
Steven Zhu, executive vice president of the Chinese Restaurant Association of Philadelphia and a coordinator of Chinatown Town Watch, said that despite the car break-ins, the area remains safe.
"Chinatown is very safe, but there are still some petty crimes," Zhu said. "You need to pay attention and take care to watch your car."