ROANOKE, Va. – There are more warnings Monday about locking your car doors.
Police are still hearing from many people in Roanoke who say someone has taken items from inside their car. They say it’s common to see an increase in the summer months, but crime data shows there hasn’t been much of a drop-off after an unusually high number of incidents this summer in the city.
There were more than 60 cases of people stealing valuables from cars in Roanoke in both August and September, and so far October is on that same pace - about two per day.
The solution is simple: Lock your doors. Police say most thieves aren’t breaking in.
Roanoke Police Department Crime Prevention Specialist Scott Leamon said thieves are checking door handles to see if one opens.
“If the door pops open, then they're going in and they might only spend 15, 20 seconds in there, and then they're leaving,” Leamon said.
He said there isn’t much police can do.
“If an officer is walking by your car at that exact moment and they see somebody entering your unlocked car, what’s the officer supposed to do? The officer doesn’t know it’s not you,” he said
Police also said cases of stolen cars are continuing to stay at higher-than-normal levels. Cases of people stealing cars are up 60 percent right now compared to last year.
Police advise that you don’t leave your car running if you’re not in it, even as the temperatures continue to drop. They say they saw a huge spike in stolen cars last November.
Lynchburg police say after a huge spike in thefts from cars this summer, there's been a huge decrease. They believe many students were the ones stealing valuables, and the dramatic drop-off is due to them returning to school.