POLICE have warned people to lock their cars and secure valuables after a 22 per cent spike in car break-ins statewide.
Car burglary offences in the North (a 10 per cent increase), and West (down by 4 per cent) policing districts, remained steady. But the latest police data for July to December 2013 shows that the South had the biggest jump, 38 per cent.
Launceston Senior Constable Annabel Shegog said thieves often targeted tradies' utes and work vehicles for tools and other valuable equipment.
She said people risked becoming victims of crime if they left their cars unlocked and had valuables on display.
``It's an offence to leave your vehicle unlocked, insecure and to leave keys in the ignition when your car is unattended,'' Senior Constable Shegog said. ``Thieves specifically walk up private driveways, searching for unlocked vehicles containing valuables.
``Don't leave open invitations for opportunistic thieves. Secure your vehicles and keep your valuables out of sight.''
She suggested that car owners install an immobiliser and steering wheel lock, park their oldest vehicle facing the street with a later model vehicle parked behind it, consider leaving valuable items at home, park in well-lit areas at night and close all windows and lock all doors before leaving their car, even if it was on private property.
Police urge people to report suspicious behaviour around parked cars by calling the police helpline on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.