In the past 30 days, the St. Petersburg Police Department has investigated 98 vehicle burglaries in the downtown and northern areas of the city, compared with 51 cases in the rest of the city during the same period.
According to Sgt. Dale Moushon, the supervisor of the detectives who follow up on these cases, there are three distinctive clusters within the pattern: downtown, the Old Northeast neighborhood and the apartment complexes along Fourth Street N.
The crimes are occurring between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. More than 75 percent of the victims' cars were not locked.
Which leads to another reminder about the importance of locking your car doors.
These burglars are going after more than loose change. Here's what people are leaving in unlocked vehicles: GPS devices, laptop computers, purses, briefcases, luggage and jewelry.
It takes less than a minute to commit one of these crimes, but the problems don't end there for the victims. Sometimes criminals use victims' identity to open fraudulent accounts or use their credit cards to make purchases.
Always lock your car and never leave valuables inside, even if you live in a "gated" apartment complex. If your purse or wallet is stolen, immediately report it to the police and call your bank and credit card companies.
None of us can alter a criminal's motives, but when it comes to this type of crime, simply locking your car doors will help you avoid becoming another victim.