St. Petersburg, Florida -- Police are increasing their campaign against vehicle burglaries by getting residents of the Old Northeast neighborhood to fight the incidents with a simple task : Lock the cars.
Police said there have been 350 burglaries in the pas month.
The targeted area is bordered by 4th Street to Coffee Pot Boulevard N.E. and 5th Avenue N. to 22nd Ave N.
Police also sent an automated call to residents in the area reminding them to lock their vehicles and keep valuables out of sight. The department reminds residents that 90 percent of the burglaries occur in unlocked vehicles.
This is what the department said in the message: "This is a public safety alert from the St. Petersburg Police Department. We've seen an increase in car burglaries in your neighborhood. Almost all of the cases involved cars left unlocked. Please lock your car doors and keep valuables out of sight, especially between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Call police if you see anyone suspicious in your neighborhood."
Police spokesman Mike Puetz said the No. 1 thing the thieves are looking for is cash. He said residents of the neighborhood leave money in their vehicles for tolls or the change from drive-thru purchases, and while it might be just a few dollars, that is what is being sought.
He added that the cases get more serious when people leave a firearm in an unlocked vehicle.
In other cases, people are leaving valuables in plain view and they are losing their keys, wallets and purses, cell phones, iPads and laptops, he said.
He added that the safety glass in vehicles does not make much noise when smashed so residents should not expect to hear someone breaking in to their vehicle.
Police can be contacted by calling 911 or at the nonemergency number (727) 893-7780.
MORE INFORMATION:See the flyer officers put on doors