The Grand Rapids Police Department is warning residents of an increase not only in theft from vehicles but also an increase in stolen cars across the county.

The GRPD told WOOD-TV that between January 1 and April 21 there was a 56% rise of items being stolen from cars and a 25% increase in vehicle theft compared to the same time last year.

Make sure to lock your car! In fact, double lock it, triple lock it just to be on the safe side because most burglars are going around and checking what cars are left unlocked. Police say cars that are left damaged is mostly due to valuables being visible from the vehicle.

Normally, car theft goes up when the weather gets warmer since more people are out and about. However, the rise compared to last year, may also be due to the pandemic. Since more people are home that means more cars parked along the street, and people not checking their vehicles regularly, makes it an easy target for criminals.

The Combined Auto Theft Team (CATT) is composed of detectives from Grand Rapids, Wyoming, and Kentwood, who investigate auto theft crimes across the county. They offer some tips to residents so they don't become a victim to car theft:

  1. Do not leave anything valuable in your car, especially out in the open.
  2. Even if you're in your driveway, always lock your car and roll up your windows.
  3. If you have a push-to-start engine, do not leave fob in the car
  4. Do not leave firearms in your car