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Car break-ins up, carjackings down in Atlanta

11Alive set out to verify if car break-ins and/or carjackings were increasing in and around Atlanta.

ATLANTA — Two violent carjackings in Atlanta within 8 days left a father dead and a mother of three in the hospital. Bradley Coleman, 29, was shot as he tried to prevent his car from being taken. Suzanne Hill was hospitalized after the thieves ran over her in her own car.

In addition, Atlanta Police have investigated mass car break-ins in several neighborhoods and at apartment complexes.

After hearing the news, 11Alive viewer Andrea Barrios wanted to know if carjackings are up in Atlanta and what she could do to prevent it from happening to her.

11Alive set out to verify if car break-ins and/or carjackings were increasing in and around Atlanta.

We’ve asked several police and sheriff departments around the metro for their data. This portion will be updated as departments respond. 

FBI Statistics:

According to the latest available data from the FBI, 14,621 cars were reported stolen in Georgia in 2020, however, only 399 of 657 law enforcement agencies reported their data. The previous year, 4,009 motor vehicle thefts were recorded. However, only 125 Georgia law enforcement agencies reported their data in 2019.

Going off FBI statistics for those years, given the vast difference in how many agencies reported data, makes it difficult to paint a true picture of how car thefts increased or decreased across the state.

Atlanta Police Department:

According to data for the year ending 07/09/2022, there have been 4,289 reports of theft from a motor vehicle. That’s up 16 percent from the same time in 2021 when 3,692 were reported.

As for motor vehicle theft, 1,496 were reported so far for 2022. That’s down 10 percent from the previous year, where 1,665 were reported.

So, for the City of Atlanta, it appears more people are reporting car break-ins than having the actual car stolen.

How to help prevent carjackings

As these crimes continue to happen, it leaves people wondering what to do. Police recommend removing all valuables from one's car and do not recommend fighting the suspects over the vehicle.

In the case of Hill, a tracking device on her car allowed Atlanta Police to find and arrest the suspects.

Millions of cars already have location tracking. To check, verify with the dealer or manufacturer to see if your car has this feature. If it does, your car’s location can be tracked and updated via the car manufacturer’s smartphone app.

There are also plenty of GPS trackers that can be purchased and added to a car, either by a magnet, by waterproof mount, or installed on the car’s battery. The car can then be tracked via a smartphone.

An Apple AirTag can also be used to help track the location of the car.

RELATED: Some Atlanta residents being tracked with Apple AirTags | Here's what to do if it happens to you

In addition, changing your car’s factory settings can help prevent someone from getting into the car while you’re still in it.  Many cars’ factory setting allows all four car doors to unlock at the same time.

Check the owner’s manual to see if, and how, you can change these settings. If you don't have your owner's manual, you can likely find the instructions online.

From there, change the settings so your vehicle will unlock just your driver's side door, thus keeping someone from sneaking into your car through the passenger side.

Drivers can also change their settings so all four doors will remain locked even once you put the car in park.

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