File Photo – Lake County Sheriff’s Office | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

The sheriff’s office is reminding residents to lock their cars as Lake County has seen an increase in vehicle thefts and burglaries in recent weeks.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said the increase has been seen throughout the county and not in a specific area.

“While our sheriff’s deputies, detectives, and sheriff’s canines have been successful in apprehending several of these thieves, additional incidents have been reported,” Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said.

Car burglars tend to target unlocked cars parked in driveways during the overnight hours.

Burglars generally go driveway to driveway checking door handles to see if they can enter an unlocked car, Covelli said.

Once inside, they will steal anything of value. They may also use the garage door opener to attempt to enter the garage of the residence.

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Thieves who desire to steal a car generally target vehicles left unoccupied while running in a driveway, a parking lot or on the street.

Thieves also look for parked vehicles that have a spare key or key fob left inside the vehicle.

Thieves rarely ‘hotwire’ vehicles anymore, Covelli said.

When a vehicle is left running or keys are left inside the vehicle, a thief can steal it in seconds.

Often times if the stolen vehicle is located by law enforcement, the thief flees from law enforcement in the stolen car.

Covelli said residents should not leave cars running unoccupied and spare keys or key fobs should not be left in the vehicle.

Residents should also remove valuables from their vehicles, keep residential exterior lighting on during the overnight hours and consider residential video surveillance.