Milwaukee police see increase in motor vehicle thefts on city's northwest side

MILWAUKEE -- There has been an increase in motor vehicle thefts and entry into locked vehicles in neighborhoods on Milwaukee's northwest side (District 4 geographical area), according to an electronic notification sent to residents in the city.

Officials say the majority of the auto thefts are occurring in the morning and early evening. Thieves are apparently targeting parking lots of churches, retail stores, apartment buildings, and industrial areas with multiple commercial buildings.

The electronic notification also states the following:

"Please be mindful of the importance of safe guarding your vehicle, which many people consider an extension of their home. KEEP ITEMS OF APPARENT VALUE OUT OF SIGHT! DO NOT leave these items visible in your vehicle (Ex. Purses, GPS, coins, laptops, cameras, and clothing).

"Also, when putting gasoline in your vehicle, please do not leave your purse or wallet unattended on the seat of your unlocked vehicle. Thieves are targeting people at gas stations who are distracted pumping gas and leave their doors unlocked.

"Please do not leave your vehicle running and unattended, it makes it easier for someone to jump into your running vehicle. Also, be aware of suspicious persons or vehicles that linger in a parking lot. For example, any unusual vehicle circling around a parking lot, any subject or subjects that are being dropped off in a parking lot by another vehicle, subjects looking in or around vehicles, subjects trying to open vehicle doors, or walking through parking lots carrying backpacks or bags."