COLUMBIA, S.C. — Barry Hicks says he has lived in a quiet neighborhood in the south side of Columbia for more than a decade, but recent auto break-ins have left himself and others in the community on edge.
"It's not just, you know, a break in, it's like it takes a part of you," Hicks said. "You're on edge at all times.... I haven't slept well since."
Police say they've seen at least five car break-ins in Hicks' Burnside Drive community this year, and they're not alone.
In the summer, there's an increase in crimes like burglaries and car break-ins in the city leading police to create new strategies to curb the problem.
"Officers have changed their patrol techniques as it relates to our night shifts," Columbia Police Deputy Chief Melron Kelly said. "Officers are really out on the look out for people in neighborhoods where it's dark in areas, we're out checking. We're also on bikes."
Police say you can help make a difference.
If you record any suspicious activity on your home cameras, you can share that with authorities. Also, being a watchful neighbor can be helpful, and dont forget to lock your car doors.
In many of these incidents, police say the cars have been unlocked and the suspects appear to be individuals under the age of 18.
They've made several arrests, but are still working to stop the issue.
"I think we can do this as a community. Not just a law enforcement thing or not just a resident thing, but together I think we can take care of this," Kelly said.
That means peace of mind for people like Hicks.
"I just want these guys to get, you know, for them to catch them and for this to stop," Hicks said.
If you see something suspicious happening in your neighborhood, call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.