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Authorities are alerting Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck residents to a recent uptick in car thefts and property being stolen from vehicles.

According to Deputy Inspector William A. McBride, the 111th Precinct saw double the number of reported stolen cars last month when compared to last year. The commanding officer urged attendees at the Sept. 5 Community Council meeting to be mindful of locking their doors when exiting their vehicles and never leave car keys inside.

“For the year to date — through Sunday — we’re down in every major crime category with the exception of grand larceny auto,” McBride said.

The commanding officer said about half of the car thefts in recent months were facilitated by owners leaving their keys in the car. McBride also reminded residents never to leave their cars running unattended — even cars with remote start buttons.

Officer Steven Rosa later urged residents never to leave valuables in their vehicles — even for just a few minutes. Cars or valuables inside are often stolen in front of locations such as neighborhood delis, coffee shops, gas stations and schools.

“Last year around this time — with school starting up — we did have an up-spike in thefts from an auto,” Rosa said. “People were picking up their children or dropping them off and leaving their pocketbooks in the car. Thieves were watching, they’d punch in the windows and remove their property … So we’d like to keep that down this year.”

Rosa said he and other members of the Community Affairs Unit will be visiting local schools in the coming weeks to remind parents and guardians to always take their valuables with them and be mindful of traffic rules and regulations.

Residents can also contact the precinct to have their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto their vehicle’s glass, which deters theft and makes it easier to trace the vehicle if it is stolen. Interested parties can call Rosa at 718-279-5215 to schedule the etching.

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