Police see spike in thefts from cars

Southwest Minneapolis’ 5th Precinct is reporting an increase in vehicle-related theft in recent weeks.

There are 100 thefts from vehicles year-to-date as of Feb. 13, while last year at this time there were 44. And there are 43 auto thefts year-to-date, while last year at this time there were 24.

Police recommend against leaving valuables hidden inside a vehicle. A police advisory is highlighting the cost of vehicle theft: about $200 to fix a broken window, credit card charges that range from $100-$500 within an hour of the theft, and the chance of lowered credit scores due to identity theft.

Police are also reminding residents that it’s against city ordinance to leave a key in the ignition when no one is in the car. Eighty percent of stolen vehicles are left unlocked, according to police, and 42 percent of stolen cars contain keys inside.

Police say hiding valuables under a blanket, coat or a seat doesn’t work. Stashing a bag in a car, even without valuables, can appear tempting from the outside. Police also suggest placing items in the trunk before arriving at a busy destination like the lakes or a shopping area. Police advise against storing documentation with identifying information in a car, and say the only necessary documents to have on hand are a driver’s license, proof of insurance and a copy of a rental agreement for short-term rentals.