MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On a sunny Friday afternoon, Whitney Mehsling isn't focusing on anything but playing with her two dogs.
"If somebody is going to break into my car and take something, that's fine, but I'd rather them not take the car itself, so I'll keep my keys," Mehsling said.
She knows what it's like to have her car broken into and doesn't take any chances, locking up and keeping her keys with her at all times.
"They actually busted in my passenger window and there was a bag sitting on the seat … there was nothing in it, though," she said.
Locking your car may seem like it is second nature, but Minneapolis police say that's one way thieves are targeting wheels.
Since March 1, 37 cars have been lifted from neighborhoods in northeast Minneapolis. Over the past few weeks, older Hondas have been the car of choice for criminals.
"Auto theft is so often a crime of opportunity. People will leave their keys in the ignition, they will leave them up in the visor and think they are being sneaky," said Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder.
These car crooks are creative. Vehicles have been stolen when they're idling or if there was a spare key inside, but there's also been some cases where there's no evidence of any forced entry.
"People at bars that maybe have their purse open and people are grabbing car keys out of there," Elder said.
To avoid getting your car stolen, Minneapolis police recommend the following:
- Do not leave your keys anywhere in your vehicle (the ignition, on/in the center console, the glove box, on the seat, on top of the visor, etc.)
- Have your license plate number and/or VIN number ready for responding officers
- Consider using a steering wheel lock
If your car is stolen, call 911 immediately.
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