By Stephanie Diffin
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - This weekend, thousands of people will pour into Forest Park for one of the biggest events of the year.
The Great Forest Park Balloon Race comes as St. Louis deals with a jump in car break-ins, especially around the park.
Less than two weeks ago, thieves targeted dozens of cars during LouFest at Forest Park. And during one night last month, around 30 cars were hit.
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"I've heard of other people having their cars broken into but it hasn't happened to us, thank God," said park visitor Brandy Gammons.
St. Louis police confirm that larceny in Forest Park is up by around 30 percent over the past year. But they add that overall crime is down by around 40 percent from 2006.
"You have to understand it in context. Crime is cyclical," said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
And, police say they're doing everything they can to prevent more break-ins in Forest Park. Officers in uniform and plain clothes will be watching for people who seem to be snooping around cars this weekend. And since it's a free, public event, they say there will be far more officers on hand than there were during LouFest, which provided its own security. There are nearly 150 cameras up around the park to help prevent crime.
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The chief also says people can do their part by not giving criminals the opportunity to steal.
"If they don't see anything in your car that's visible that has value to them, they'll move on to the next car," said Chief Dotson.
It's information that many people say will keep them feeling safe while their eyes are on the sky.