WASHINGTON (WUSA) - Washingtonians have to protect themselves from carjackers, but now also need to be wary of thieves' breaking-in to their cars and stealing car components, cash, clothes, and other items left inside the car and the trunk.
Local police and AAA Mid-Atlantic released a recent study that shows the amount of thefts inside a Washington area car has increased in recent years.
According to the study, thieves stole valuables out of more than seven thousand cars in 2011.
So far in 2012, thieves have stolen items from more than three thousand cars in Washington, D.C., according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
It is a crime of opportunity, which includes "the thefts of items left in cars, thefts of interior components such as radios or batteries, and thefts of external parts such as wheels," adds the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.
Metros parking lots, and underground garages have been hot spots for thieves in the past months.
Officials urge car owners to make sure their doors are locked once they leave, and that valuables are taken out of plain sight.