Keeping your vehicles secure during summer months

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Local law enforcement agencies are asking residents to secure their vehicles after a string of car burglaries in Okaloosa County.

July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month and some law enforcement agencies want to make sure vehicles are secure.

Summer in Panama City Beach means more tourists, which means more cars, which means more opportunity for car burglars.

Lt. Marc Tochterman of the Bay County Sheriff's Office said, "Between Pier Park and the beaches and the shopping centers and stuff like that, it's prime targets, and we have people that just, that's the only reason they come here is to do that."

Officials say the best way to prevent car burglaries is to lock your doors but sometimes that isn't enough.

Lt. Tochterman explained, "If you leave things in there that makes it worth their while, they'll break the window but if you look in there, whether it be day or night, and they look in there and they see something, they'll break it. But if they look in there and don't see anything, and the door is locked, they'll move on."

They say purses, keys, wallets, and even dashboard GPS' are among the items car thieves look for.

"You break into a car and somebody snags that GPS, all they have to do is hit the 'Home' button and they can find out where you live, and they know if you just went to the movies, they've got two hours to go to where your house is," Tochterman said.

Lieutenant Tochterman suggests locking your valuables in the trunk if you're out and about, or, "If you know you're going to a shopping center or to a mall or wherever, just take what you need and you're going to carry with you, just don't leave it in the car."

Sheriff's officials say above all else make sure your car doors are always locked no matter where you are.