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Neighbors In Lincolnwood Say They Feel Like They're Being Targeted By Auto Thieves

LINCOLNWOOD, Ill. (CBS) -- They're bold, quick, and violent – car thieves using the village of Lincolnwood as their own personal shopping spot.

On Monday night, neighbors in the near northern suburb told CBS 2's Tara Molina they have had enough. They have even captured some of the crimes on camera.

A family was carjacked in Lincolnwood this past Friday night. Around 9:40 p.m., the family was arriving home in the 3900 block of Estes Avenue when a red sedan, driven by a woman, stopped in front of their home.

Two men got out of the sedan, one from the front passenger side and one from the rear passenger side. The man who got out of the front approached the man who was driving with a semiautomatic handgun and took his car keys, wallet and, cellphone. The man who got out of the rear approached the first victim's wife and took her cell phone out of her coat pocket.

The offenders got away with a 2012 white Audi Q7 and fled north on Crawford Avenue followed by the woman in the red sedan. The victims' vehicle was recovered Saturday morning on the South Side of Chicago.

Lincolnwood police said Friday night that there was no indication the incident is a crime pattern in the village.

But people who live in Lincolnwood say they feel like they're being targeted, and they're asking for help.

"We don't know who to contact," said Sal Chand.

Chand says he's fed up.

"This isn't normal behavior," he said, "and it's just unacceptable."

Chand reached out to CBS 2 after capturing an incident on his home security camera. The video shows a car being stolen from his neighbors' driveway.

And he said that's not all He has caught a lot on camera the past few weeks.

"People just walked up to our cars, and just opening up the door handles and seeing whether or not they can get anything," Chand said.

He said he wants the Village of Lincolnwood to do something about the recent crimes.

"No one is listening to us," Chand said.

And since he claims they haven't, he's prepared to start keeping watch himself.

"I know police don't want us to do it, but since no one else is doing it, I might as well do it," Chand said.

Molina reached out to the Lincolnwood village president, board of trustees, and police department. She only heard back from the Chief of Police.

Chief Jay Parrott said Chand's neighborhood is constantly patrolled by police. He said every stolen car in the village, going back the past couple weeks, was a crime of opportunity – the cars were all unlocked with the keys inside.

The Lincolnwood Police Department Facebook page features regular posts calling for people to follow the "9 p.m. routine" of securing valuables and locking car doors. The advice is imparted by an assortment of memes featuring everything from Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the Winchester Family from "Supernatural" to the Little Mermaid and Charlie Brown.

The Winchester Brothers don't need a guardian angel to secure their car, because they do the 9pm routine!! So secure...

Posted by Lincolnwood Police Department on Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sabrina knows she doesn't have to cast spells to protect her valuables, she just does the 9pm routine!! So secure your valuable spell books, and lock up your car doors!! ????‍♀️????‍♂️???????? #9PMRoutine

Posted by Lincolnwood Police Department on Monday, November 23, 2020

Snoopy always helps Charlie Brown out by reminding him of the 9pm routine!! So secure your valuable turkeys and lock...

Posted by Lincolnwood Police Department on Thursday, November 26, 2020

But Chand said it is not always the case that such incidents are crimes of opportunity.

"Unfortunately, they broke my windows," he said.

We broke down the most recent crime numbers in Lincolnwood this year and found that thefts are up this year. But according to police, they're mostly retail.

Chief Parrott told Molina that in fact, the only measurable increase in crime this year in Lincolnwood is in thefts – 44 more than last year at this time with overall crime being 36 incidents higher.

"Motor vehicle burglaries are classified under this category and have maintained a steady number in comparison to last year," Parrott wrote. "Retail theft is the highest number within this category and the other contributing number is theft of motor vehicle parts. We have seen several catalytic convertor thefts occurring over this past year."

Parrott said there have been three cars stolen in the past two weeks.

He also emphasized the advice that people secure their vehicles and keys.

"If I can emphasize that we truly want to encourage everyone to lock their vehicles, please do not leave your keys or an extra set of keys in the vehicle (i.e., valet key), don't leave valuables visible and call police if you see something suspicious," Parrott wrote. "Residents know their neighborhood better than anyone and can recognize something out of the norm more quickly than anyone else."

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