UTAH (ABC4) – As summer travel gets underway, local police are reminding the public of the dangers of vehicle burglaries and thefts in Utah.

Kaysville Police says just this year, they’ve responded to 46 vehicle burglaries and 14 vehicle thefts. 

“These types of crimes we like to refer to as crimes of opportunity,” says Kaysville Police. “Please make sure that you are locking up your vehicle each night, and removing any valuable items from your vehicle.”

Earlier this year, the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) says within a span of one month, officers recovered 169 stolen vehicles. Police say that staggering number amounts to an average of six vehicles stolen per day.

“Auto theft in Salt Lake City isn’t like it is in movies,” says Sgt. Richelle Bradley, who oversees the SLCPD Auto Theft Unit. “Having a vehicle stolen can have a devastating impact on the victim and can have lasting collateral financial consequences. Unfortunately, the phrase ‘drive it like it’s stolen’ is all too real. We often see stolen cars with significant damage to the point they are no longer drivable.”

Authorities are reminding the public of easy ways to prevent vehicle theft when out and about. They say it’s important to always lock your car with the windows closed and keys removed when leaving your car unattended.

“Never leave your car idling unattended even for short periods of time,” says SLCPD. “If possible, park in areas with good lighting, surveillance cameras, or security and parking attendants.”

Anti-theft or security systems such as a steering wheel lock or vehicle locating technology are great options to install if possible.

More expert tips from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help keep your car safe from thieves:

Use common-sense:

  • Always remove keys from your vehicle when not inside
  • Do not leave personal belongings where they are easily visible
  • Always make sure to lock all doors and close all windows

Install a warning device. Some examples include:

  • Audible alarms
  • Steering column collars
  • Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
  • Brake locks
  • Wheel locks
  • Theft-deterrent decals
  • Identification markers in or on vehicle
  • VIN etching
  • Microdot marking

Install an immobilizing device. Experts say this kind of protection prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Examples include:

  • Smart keys
  • Fuse cut-offs
  • Kill switches
  • Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
  • Wireless ignition authentication

Install a tracking device:

  • A tracking device can emit a signal to the police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen.
  • Some tracking device systems employ “telematics” which combines GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle.