760 cars stolen this year across Norfolk, interim police chief says — 89 of them were in the past two weeks

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Auto thefts across Norfolk in the past two weeks are up 170% compared to this time last year, with 89 vehicles being stolen, according to interim police chief Mike Goldsmith.

Goldsmith provided Norfolk City Council with the city’s auto theft data at Tuesday’s work session, which he said is “significantly up.”

From July 1 to July 14, 89 cars were stolen across Norfolk — 56 more than the 33 that were reported stolen in the same timeframe last year. Halfway through the year, the 760 thefts have already surpassed 2021′s stolen vehicle count of 526 by 44%.

More than 50% — or 406 — of the thefts, Goldsmith said, could have been prevented if vehicle owners did not leave vehicles running or their keys inside their vehicles.

According to Goldsmith, people frequently leave their vehicles running or the keys in the vehicle as they stop by a convenience store, which he said is “simply not responsible.”

“Since my early days in policing, it used to be that people could pop a steering column, stick a screwdriver into the keyhole and start a car and that was the majority of our problem. With the advances in technology, you really can’t take a car unless you’ve got the key because the key fob is tied to the car and it makes it difficult to steal without it,” Goldsmith said.

Auto thefts, he said, is a problem impacting all of Hampton Roads.

In the past two weeks, Norfolk police recovered 17 vehicles reported stolen from other jurisdictions.

“We are recovering out-of-city stolens on a regular basis here in Norfolk and they are doing the same in their cities,” Goldsmith said.

From Jan. 1 to July 14, the department has recovered 215 vehicles stolen from other cities.

Goldsmith urged motorists to avoid leaving valuables, including car keys, inside their vehicles and to not leave the vehicle running unattended.

Caitlyn Burchett, 727-267-6059, caitlyn.burchett@virginiamedia.com