CINCINNATI -- Recent reports show a spike in car thefts across the Tri-State.
A car is stolen every 45 seconds, acccording to the FBI. Locally, Cincinnati has seen a 39 percent jump in car thefts so far this year, up to 571 compared to 412 during the same period last year, according to police. There were more than 3,500 auto thefts in the area in 2016, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Experts say unlocked doors make it easy, and thieves are watching when drivers put items in the trunk or back seat and walk away.
In most cases, the victims left their keys in the cars, according to Blue Ash Police Chief Paul Hartinger. The thieves usually walk along and try the doors, looking to take items from inside, he said.
"But if they find the car key, they flip it in the ignition, or they just push the button nowadays, and off they go with your car."
The car thieves will sometimes take the vehicle to a new location and take another car there, according to Hartinger.
"One car that was stolen this year was found down at the casino," he said. "Another car was stolen and it was just found in another parking lot somewhere."
According to AAA, more than half of car thefts can be prevented. In addition to locking doors and moving valuables out of sight, some people are putting tracking devices on their cars that will alert police if their car is stolen.