DENVER -- Metro area police agencies warn now is not the time to have a false sense of security when it comes to protecting vehicles.
Police report more than 18,000 car break-ins in Colorado in 2016.
Many cars targeted by thieves can be accessed by simply opening the door because owners leave them unlocked.
Crooks easily help themselves to cash, purses, jewelry and garage door openers that provide access to the owner's residence.
One Lakewood man's Ring security camera system alerted him in the middle of the night that trespassers were on his property.
He checked the app and saw two men rifling through his belongings.
"This guy goes into the trunk. There's a sewing machine and an emergency roadside kit that's probably worth $150, doesn't even touch it," he said.
Police said thieves are looking for things they can quickly carry and conceal.
Det. David Snelling of the Arvada Police Department said many car break-ins are committed by those looking for money for drugs.
"Desperate to just get some small amount of cash or small items to make money so they can feed that addiction," he said.
Snelling has advice to thwart thieves:
- Lock car doors
- Never leave valuables inside the car
- Always take the garage door opener inside the house at night
Other crooks are looking to steal the car itself. Police say cars and trucks most sought after by thieves include the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Dodge Ram pickup, Ford F-250 and Ford F-150.
"Unlock the steering wheel and that vehicle's good to go, they'll take it," Snelling said.
In 2017, Arvada documented 795 vehicle break-ins. Police report 75 percent of the vehicles were just sitting unlocked.AlertMe