There was a time when you could leave your house or car unlocked in Washington and not worry about anything happening to your belongings.

Those days are over.

Police are seeking the public’s help in solving three brazen daytime burglaries at residences on busy streets in Washington over the past few weeks. These thefts follow a string of vehicle break-ins.

Police say the recent spike in thefts have at least one thing in common. The thieves gained entry through unlocked doors.

Locking doors is still one of the easiest and best ways to deter property crimes, according to police. So is removing items from plain view in vehicles.

Police believe the crimes have another common denominator. They say the perpetrators were likely trying to steal items to buy drugs. Police equate the rise in heroin use in this area with the recent rise in thefts. They go hand in hand.

Drug addicts will steal anything that is not locked down to fuel their habit.

One of the best defenses to property crimes is awareness. If you see anything suspicious or unusual, report it immediately to police.

Locking doors and reporting suspicious activity to police are things we should take for granted. They still are effective steps in thwarting some types of crime.