ST. PETERSBURG, Fla - St. Pete police went door-to-door today and sent out a recorded phone call to residents warning of a spike in auto burglaries in the Historic Northeast area.
According to officers, 90% of all auto burglaries occur in unlocked vehicles.
The targeted area is bordered by 4th Street to Coffee Pot Boulevard NE and 5th Avenue N. to 22 Avenue N.
According to police, since June 30 there have been 30 car break-ins. In the last month, there have been 12.
"This is a public safety alert from the St. Petersburg Police Department," the automated call states. "We've seen an increase in car burglaries in your neighborhood. Almost all the cases involved car left unlocked. Please lock your car doors and keep valuables out of sight, especially between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. Call police if you see anyone suspicious in your neighborhood."
This is the second time in two months police are warning residents in this area.
"It's a crime of opportunity," said Sgt. Edward Borrelli with St. Pete PD. "These kids have found an easy way to make money."
Money, firearms, golf clubs and other electronics have been stolen out of cars. In addition, police say the thieves are looking to find spare keys to other cars. In at least two instances, police told ABC Action News thieves have gotten a hold of a spare key and stolen the car they belong to.
David Harrell lives in the area and his car has been broken into twice. He know plans to keep his doors locked at all times.
"It is a sign of the times," said Harrell.