The CPD is reminding people to lock car doors and avoid leaving keys inside vehicles. (Image: Leonid Mamchenkov, MGNOnline)

Auto thefts and thefts from vehicles are up compared to last year in some areas, so authorities are reminding people of simple ways to avoid becoming a victim.

“Criminals target vehicles due to items of value in plain sight,” CPD spokesman Rob Simmons said via email. “Once they see something of value, they enter the vehicle.”

In the areas of St. Elmo, downtown and Alton Park, there were 99 auto thefts from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 2016. For 2017, that number increased to 134. 

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For the same area and time period in 2016, there were 266 thefts from motor vehicles reported, and that number jumped to 305 in 2017.

CPD is reminding people to “lock it, hide it and hold it.”

Police said you should lock unattended cars and hide valuables by locking them in the trunk or taking them with you.

Many vehicles that are stolen have the keys in them, Simmons said.

Lt. Craig Joel discusses the increase and encourages people to make sure their cars are locked in the video below.

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