Washington police are urging residents to remove valuables from their parked vehicles, or hide them from sight.

According to police, vehicle burglaries are crimes of opportunity made easy by leaving valuables in plain sight. 

Most burglars will not break into a car if they can’t see what they’re getting.

People are asked to report suspicious activities to police by calling 636-390-1050.

Police are offering the following advice to prevent car breakins:

• Remove cellphones, cameras, laptop computers, briefcases, backpacks, wallets and purses after parking a car. Do not leave gift wrapped packages or other valuable items lying on the seat.

• Lock all valuables in the trunk or glove compartment before reaching a destination, or take them inside.

• Always close windows and lock vehicle and garage doors.

• Remember, thieves’ stake out parking lots and easily spot people bending over or appearing to be placing items under or between seats.

• Thieves watching parking lots also will note women leaving a vehicle without a purse. This is often a sign that it is still in the car. Most of the time it is easy to spot a purse strap or hidden item sticking out from under the car seat.

• Since many people now drive sport utility vehicles or minivans that do not have a trunk, a simple solution is to take only what is needed for that trip.

• Don’t leave a car in unattended in parking lots for an extended amount of time. A car is five times more likely to be stolen from an unattended lot than from the street or attended lot.

• If possible, park vehicles in a lot where drivers don’t have to leave keys.

• Never attach a tag with a name and address to key rings. If the keys are lost or stolen, the tag will lead the thief directly to a car and home. If motorists have to leave keys with a parking attendant, leave only the ignition key.

• Be sure to remove automatic garage door openers from the car, as this could give a thief easy access to your house.

• At night, park near or under a street light.

• If a car is stored in a carport or parked near a house, leave exterior lights on throughout the night. Consider replacing the light fixture closest to the car with a motion detector. The light will be off, but will activate if the car is approached.

• Consider adding a car alarm system. Always set the alarm if it is equipped.