Wellington County OPP say they've seen a spike in vehicle thefts this year.
Ontario Provincial Police say property crimes are nothing new, but the frequency of vehicle thefts they've seen this year in rural areas is alarming.
Constable Joshua Cunningham says they are already into triple-digits when it comes to the number of vehicle thefts this year.
"Thursday morning, our numbers showed that we had 99 stolen vehicles in Wellington County. By the end of the day, we had three more," says Cunningham. "Given that we're only at the half-way point, if things don't change, we're going to have another 100 vehicles stolen by the end of the year."
He says that would be a 30% increase in thefts compared to 2018 with 156 stolen vehicles reported.
Cunningham says sometimes people make it easy for their vehicles to be stolen.
"We're seeing a lot of vehicles, especially in the rural areas, left unlocked and often with keys in it. To know surprise, those vehicles are getting stolen."
However, he says those stolen vehicles can wreak havoc on area highways as they flee from police.
"What a lot of people aren't aware of, is the fact that those vehicles are then used in other crimes like in home invasions and robberies," says Cunningham. In Wellington County last year, "a vehicle that was left unsecured was stolen and was involved in a crash that killed someone on their way to work."
OPP are urging everyone to lock their vehicles, keep the keys out of the car and keep valuable items out of sight.
If you suspect your vehicle may have been entered officers are urging you to report it. If you prefer to remain anonymous you can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip on-line at www.csgw.tips.