A year’s worth of police data shows that car break-ins are much more common at one specific metro Atlanta mall than other large malls in the area.
The Mall of Georgia is the largest mall in the state, but did not have the highest number of break-ins. Gwinnett police say they responded to 50 car break-ins at the Mall of Georgia last year.
Georgia resident Conner Bennett was a victim of one of those car break-ins last December.
Bennett says he and his girlfriend returned to his truck after dinner at the Mall of Georgia to find the passenger window broken and his girlfriend's partially-hidden purse missing.
Despite the truck having tinted windows, a suspected thief was still able to see inside the vehicle.
“I was completely shocked, because you just don’t expect that to happen,” Bennett said.
But the mall with the most car break-ins is in Cobb County.
Drivers are three times more likely to be a victim of a car break-in at Cumberland Mall than at the Mall of Georgia.
"It’s a big problem," Cobb County Police Officer Alicia Chilton told Channel 2 Action News. "I did work that area, so I'm familiar with how often it happens."
Chilton said it takes about 30 seconds for a crook to break into a vehicle and take whatever is inside.
"Maybe a gym bag with your clothes in it, you know, that's not super important to most people," Chilton said. "But to a bad guy, that may be a crime of opportunity."
Officers say people use small pieces of a spark plug to smash car windows. They also use screwdrivers to pop door locks.
Atlanta Police Public Information Officer Kim Jones has sound advice for drivers to lower their chances of having someone break into their car.
"Leave your car the way it was when you purchased it," Jones said. "Nothing in it."
She said most people don’t do that.
A Channel 2 photographer walked around Cumberland Mall for twnety minutes and found numerous cars with purses, shopping bags, backpacks and electronics visible from the windows.
Cumberland Mall management did not respond to repeated requests for comment by Channel 2 Action News. Thje mall's security referred The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to Cobb County police.
Here are the metro Atlanta malls with the most car break-ins reported to police in 2015:
1. Cumberland Mall (Cobb County): 140
2. Lenox Square (Atlanta): 105
3. The Mall at Stonecrest (DeKalb County): 82
4. Gallery at South DeKalb (DeKalb County): 57
5. Perimeter Mall (DeKalb County): 52
6. Mall of Georgia (Gwinnett County): 50
7. Greenbriar Mall (Atlanta): 46
8. Phipps Plaza (Atlanta): 40
9. Sugarloaf Mills (Gwinnett County): 32
10. Arbor Place Mall (Douglas County): 24
11. Northlake Mall (DeKalb County): 22
12. Town Center at Cobb (Cobb County): 18
13. Gwinnett Place Mall (Gwinnett County): 13
14. North Point Mall (North Fulton): 9
15. Santa Fe Mall (Gwinnett County): 7
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Ana Santos contributed to this story.