NEW CASTLE, N.Y. --- It seems like the police are announcing another rash of car burglaries or thefts every day.
It's no different in New Castle, where police report four cars have been stolen since the beginning of the year and dozens have been burglarized.
"New Castle residents don't live in a bubble," Det. Sgt. Estuardo Tazmino said. "We have the same problems that other towns and cities are having."
That includes residents who continually leave their vehicles unlocked with valuables inside, making them prime targets for thieves, he said.
All four of the vehicles that were stolen in New Castle this year had keys in the ignition, Tazmino said.
"We all get into a routine and it's easy to leave valuable items including laptops, tablets, and phones in the car and walk away," he added.
And that's exactly what the thieves are hoping for. Many of the thefts are committed by organized rings out of New York City, but some are being carried out by local residents and teens as well, Tazmino said.
"It's important for residents to get in the habit of taking their valuables out of their vehicles and to lock their cars," he said.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino Jr. held a press conference on Thursday to address the growing problem of vehicle thefts and burglaries.
He said there have been 174 vehicles stolen across Westchester County so far this year. Most of those stolen had keys left in the ignition.
Scarpino offered the following tips to keep residents from becoming a victim:
- Do not leave your keys in the car
- Remove or hide all valuables
- Close all of the vehicle's windows and lock the doors
- Activate the vehicle's alarm
- Park in a well-lit area or garage if possible
- Don't keep garage door openers in the car
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