More People Leaving Cars Unlocked in Richland - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

More People Leaving Cars Unlocked in Richland

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- Unlocked cars are often a welcome invitation to car prowlers looking for loot. In Richland, the problem is getting worse.

Richland police want car owners to remember, when you leave it, lock it. But people in Richland are making it all too easy for thieves to steal their valuables.

Richland police say 70% of the city's car crimes happen with unlocked vehicles. That's up 10% compared to last year.

"We don't have an overt criminal element throughout most of the Tri-Cities. So it doesn't look very frightening, which is good. That means the police departments, the sheriff's offices are doing a good job, but the flip side of that sometimes it can make people be victims," said Capt. Mike Cobb, Richland Police Department.

Cobb said as the Tri-cities continue to grow, people should be more cautious of increased chances for crime.

Many long-time residents remember a time when the Tri-Cities had a small town feel, but Cobb said it's just not that way anymore.

"It has become more of a metropolitan area and with that comes crimes of opportunity. We don't want people to be fearful but we do want people to be aware and cautious," Cobb said.

Some people in Richland said they always lock their car, but others think they don't have much to steal so they're not a target.

"Keep my car locked at home, at church, in any parking lot, in front of a friend's house. I always lock my car," said Jami Siefken.

"I live here in the Tri-Cities and I'm driving an older car so there's not many people that are going to bother it," said Michael Turner.

"I think they're just in a hurry and they think that they're belongings are safe in their car. I just disagree," said Janelle Westberg.

Police say leaving valuables in your car like a cell phone or i-pad is like an advertisment for theft.

Officers want you lock it up so you don't lose it.