Utica, NY (WIBX) - Lock your car doors! That's the message from Utica Police officials, warning about recent back-to-back car thefts in the city. They say in one incident, witnesses report seeing a man, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black pants, running from a vehicle after going through it.

Officials say to avoid being a crime victim, lock your car doors, and don't leave any valuables behind, or in plain sight. Yesterday, UPD responded to several reports of car thefts on the 400 block of Euclid and Van Rensselaer Road.

Car Theft Prevention Tips From The New York Times Company:

  • Never leave your car running unattended, even to dash into a business/store, ect.
  • Never leave any keys in the car or ignition, inside a locked garage, or in hide-a-key boxes.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is parked in front of your home.
  • Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk out of sight.
  • Always park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas, when possible.
  • Install a mechanical device that locks the steering wheel, column, or brakes. These devices will deter some criminals.
  • Investigate the purchase of a vehicle theft tracking/security system, especially if you own one of the frequently stolen model vehicles.
  • Never leave personal identification documents, vehicle ownership title, or credit cards in your vehicle.
  • If you must leave your key with a valet, attendant, or mechanic leave only the ignition key. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable firm.
  • In high theft areas the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should be etched on windows, doors, fenders and trunk lid. This makes it difficult for a thief to market your stolen car parts.
  • Copy your license plate and vehicle information (VIN) numbers on a card and keep them with you. If your vehicle is stolen, the police will need this information to take a report.
  • Many vehicles today come with some type of security system from the factory. Normally there are upgraded systems available if you ask. The best choice are systems that shut off the fuel supply so that a car can't be started or driven.
  • If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police immediately.