‘Substantial increase’ in motor vehicle thefts reported within Nashville’s Central police precinct

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Belmont University student says her car was stolen from a secured parking garage in the middle of the night.

“I was just shocked and a little confused,” said Sophia Hudock. “There are so many cars in the building, out of all of the cars to choose from, why mine?”

While she was sleeping, she received text alerts from the parking company who owns the garage at the Infinity Music Row Apartments on Division Street. The messages said her car was going in-and-out of the garage. She thought it was suspicious, but didn’t think anything of it. That’s until she went downstairs to find an entirely different vehicle parked in the spot she was in. There was no broken glass. She called police immediately.

“I am just hoping they’re able to locate it and there’s no damage when they do find it,” Hudock said.

According to Metro police, 67% of automobiles taken last week (37 of 55) were easy targets because they keys were left inside or made available to thieves. Sophia’s story is unique because her keys were with her the whole time. A detective working her case told her that her white Honda pilot might have been hotwired.

“It’s definitely a little scary I always thought of Nashville as a pretty safe city,” she said. “With the increase in crime recently, it’s felt a little daunting to be a student who lives in the city by themselves. It’s a little scarier then it was before.”

News 2 checked to see which areas in Metro are a hotspot for car thefts. Metro police’s latest Compstat report shows a significant increase in auto thefts this year in the city’s Central Precinct, the heart of downtown.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 9, 2019, 75 auto thefts were reported to the precinct. On Sept. 9, 2020, there were 65. Motor vehicle thefts to date this year skyrocketed to 123.

Central Precinct Community Sgt. Misty Hobbs has a message to the public after this substantial increase.

“A lot of vehicles are being taken due to keys left in them and vehicles being left running while the driver goes inside a location,” she said in a statement to News 2. “We are seeing an increase in package delivery drivers and food delivery drivers vehicles being taken because they are leaving them running and going into condo complexes or other locations downtown and leaving their vehicles running with the keys in the ignition, unattended.”

Metro police are urging the public to lock doors and secure valuables, especially guns. So far this year, 756 have been stolen from vehicles throughout the city.

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