Vehicle thefts on the rise in Jackson County

    Thefts from vehicles have increased in Jackson County since the beginning of 2012, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, with the number of thefts rising each month so far.

    White City appears to be most affected, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said Thursday.

    Since January, 62 vehicle thefts have been reported in the county, compared with 44 in the first four months of 2011 and 47 during the first four months of 2010.

    In Ashland Tuesday night, four vehicles on the south side of town had their windows smashed by a large rock. Two purses and a bank deposit bag with a small amount of cash were stolen. Ashland police said they had no leads or suspects in the thefts.

    "People need to lock their cars at all times," said Ashland Deputy Police Chief Corey Falls. "And don't leave valuables out where people can see them."

    Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said thefts in the city increased 52.7 percent from 2010 to 2011, going from 636 to 971.

    "That is huge, and obviously quite concerning," said Budreau.

    "It's actually rather easy not to be a victim of a vehicle break-in," he said. "If you leave your car unlocked, expect a criminal to go through it. If you leave your vehicle locked and you leave something valuable in sight, they will break your window to get anything that could potentially be of value. They won't break a window to look around. If you leave your car locked and valuables out of sight, the criminal will walk away."

    Medford police counted 142 vehicle theft cases in January and February, compared to 134 in the first two months of 2011.

    "We do sometimes get fingerprints and get results, but sometimes the results don't come in until months later," said Budreau.

    Reach reporter Mandy Valencia at

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