Utica, NY (WIBX) - Officials with Utica Police Department are reminding area residents about an increase in summer crime activities. Officials say during the summer months they tend to see more car break-ins, especially during events like Saranac Thursdays or during events at the Utica Auditorium.

Public Information Officer, Sergeant Steven Hauck said criminals will use a public event as an opportunity to break into vehicles. "They know the car is going to be parked for a period of time unattended and essentially what they do is they troll up and down. They look in cars, they look for cars that are unlocked--it's the path of least resistance. If they find a car unlocked they're going to go through it, if they look inside and see a purse they're going to break the window if the car is unlocked," he said.

Sgt. Hauck offered the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a car break-in.

  • Don't leave any valuables in the car. If you have to, Hauck suggests drivers put their items in the glove compartment, the trunk, or cover up any valuables from plain sight.
  • Don't make it easy for criminals to break into a vehicle and keep your cars locked.
  • Stay vigilant about your personal safety and valuables.
  • Hide items with a blanket or other clothing item if you don't have a trunk to place the items in.
  • Don't make yourself a target for criminals.

Hauck says the department is working on unveiling more other tips on Facebook that area residents can use to protect themselves from burglars, larcenists and other types of crimes.