UNIVERSITY CITY ( -- Police say car thefts and and break-ins are up in University City, primarily in the Midland Core area, which is the residential section between Delmar Blvd and Heman Park.

Police say one simple thing is keeping officers from catching some of these thieves.

"The increase in larcenies are almost all 80% unlocked vehicles," Capt. Fredrick Lemons with the University City Police Department said.

Police say no matter how safe your neighborhood may feel, thieves see it as a crime of opportunity.

Police say many residents are using security cameras, but they are not always placed in locations that are helpful.

Capt. Lemons says sometimes cameras are behind tall and blooming foliage or dark areas. His number one suggestion is to put your camera by a light.

"A place that is well lit. Lighting has a lot to do with it," Capt. Lemons said. He says when they have good security footage to go off of in their investigation, "our success rate can be as much as 70%."

Rick Cohen is a lifelong University City resident and says car break-ins and thefts have been a known issue. He has two security cameras on his house and says his cameras have caught thieves on more than one occasion. 

"People going down the street trying to open people's doors, people in my car, rifling through my car," Cohen said.

Despite the rise in break-ins and thefts, neighbors News 4 spoke to still believe in the overall safety of University City. 

"I still feel very safe in this neighborhood. We have a very good neighborhood watch," resident Dejean Dufek said.

"It's just a reminder to be more aware and be more diligent," resident Joe Abkemeier said.

The University City Police Department(UCPD) will come to your home free of charge and check to make sure your security camera is placed in a good location, if your lighting is correct and if your windows have proper locks. You can call or email UCPD to make an appointment.

UCPD phone number is (314) 725-221 and you can email Capt. Fredrick Lemons at

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