It's shocking news from the Cedar Rapids Police Department. According to KWWL, vehicle theft in Cedar Rapids is up nearly 50 percent in 2020 compared to last year. That's just the increase in the vehicles themselves being snatched.

403 reports of stolen vehicles were made as of September 22. In the last five years, the average number of thefts between January 1 and September 22 was 270. There was also a 6.5 percent increase in thefts FROM cars during that time. Hide your stuff!

Their tips to protect yourself include locking the door (even while driving), close every single window including the sunroof when parked, park in well-lit areas, never leave the vehicle running while unattended, consider installing an alarm system and use it liberally if you have one, and be alert to your surroundings. I would add, lock up even if you feel the vehicle is stored securely in the enclosed garage.

No one knows why there is such a spike in vehicle thefts, but with the holidays just around the corner, it's likely to continue, if not increase even more. Everyone is hurting due to the pandemic and derecho. The theft of property only adds to the suffering, for the victim and sooner or later the culprit.

The Cedar Rapids Police have more information in a post from their Facebook page, and they are updating it frequently. Call the CRPD at (319)286-5491 if you need help.

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