CITYWIDE — The Santa Monica Police Department has issued a warning to all those in Santa Monica: auto burglaries are on the rise so take steps to protect.

Tips one can take to reduce chances of becoming a victim are:

• Keep items out of sight: Take all valuables with you, or place them in your trunk before arriving at your destination since people may be watching.

• Always close car windows and lock doors: Even if you plan to be gone briefly, make sure you take the proper precautions. A partially-opened window makes a thief’s job easier, even if the car is parked in a garage. Police said thieves are finding ways to get into residential parking garages.

• Always set the alarm: If your vehicle has an alarm system, remember to activate it.

• Location is a contributing factor: Police said thieves look for vehicles that they can enter with the least possibility of being seen or caught. Try to park in well-lit areas where your vehicle is visible to others. Be aware of your surroundings prior to leaving your vehicle.

• Be on the lookout: Report suspicious people or vehicles in your neighborhood. Report suspicious, wandering people looking into vehicles as they walk.

Thieves are targeting electronics like laptops, iPods, cameras, cell phones and chargers, as well as GPS devices and stereos. Some even steal airbags, police said in the bulletin. Purses, wallets, gym bags and backpacks are also targets since they may contain cash, credit cards and IDs.

“Auto burglaries are mostly crimes of opportunity,” police said. “Don’t give anyone an opportunity to make you a victim.”

If a crime is in progress, call 911. For reporting a burglary that already occurred and the suspect is gone, call the non-emergency number (310) 458-8491.

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