COLLEGE STATION, Texas-- With a recent rash of car burglaries across the Brazos Valley, police are warning residents to be vigilant.

“We’ve grown over the last five years by 18,000, and we’re pushing a 120,000 population,” said College Station Chief of Police, Scott McCollum.

“This is no small town and we all have to be responsible for our own safety,” he added.

Overall, the number of reported crimes in College Station have decreased in the last five years.

In 2013, the total number of reported crimes was 8,040; in 2017 the number went down to 7,207.

McCollum said his team is working to deter criminals from preying on residents and keeping those numbers down.

“We know the importance of maintaining quality of life here in this community, and we take it to heart,” said McCollum.

Although the overall number of crimes have gone down, one type of crime is increasing in College Station—vehicle burglaries.

Thieves are targeting parked cars across town.

In 2016, the number of reported vehicle burglaries was 625; in 2017, 885 cases reported.

McCollum said there’s a simple solution to stopping these crimes and preventing yourself from becoming a victim.

“Eliminate opportunity, because for a crime to occur, you have to have opportunity,” said McCollum.

He said residents should lock their car, take their keys, and if you must leave something in the vehicle—hide it.

College Station Police Officer, Mason Middlebrooks, conducts a courtesy check of vehicles in public parking lots in town and leaves a “Vehicle Burglary Report Card,” with a grade of pass or fail.

He’s educating residents about keeping the thieves away, and protecting your property.

Middlebrooks said he’s seen items such as voting ballots and bills with personal information clearly displayed for crooks.

Chief McCollum also said that many residents are inviting burglars by not locking their doors, whether it be to their vehicle or residence.

“Unfortunately, what we’re seeing is anywhere from 65 to 70 percent of the burglaries reported had unlocked doors,” he said.

Police have made some arrests from groups outside of the area targeting College Station.

However, they still want to get the word out that deterring these criminals takes a team effort between law enforcement and the community, joining together to stop these crimes.