Lock your car doors.  It's easy to forget, I know.  I've been there.  I've lost more CD's and loose change than I care to remember.  The Duluth Police Department is reporting an increase in vehicle prowls, and wants to make sure you're doing all you can to protect your cars.

According to a press release from the Duluth Police Department, the DPD has seen an increase in parking lot vehicle prowls across the city since the beginning of September and wants to remind citizens to lock their vehicles, remove valuables, and report and suspicious activity to 911.

Also, annually the city of Duluth sees a population increase of approximately 25,000 college students. Students routinely leave book bags and electronics inside vehicles creating substantial opportunity for vehicle prowlers. Stolen ID’s, credit cards, electronics and vehicle damage drastically impacts the victim of vehicle prowls. Vehicle prowls are a crime which impacts a victim’s sense of safety in the community and creates financial stress trying to replace the stolen or damaged items.

Car (or vehicle) prowls are one of the easiest crimes to reduce with increased awareness. The following prevention measures will reduce the chances of being the target of a car prowl:

· Keep the interior of your car clean. Never leave valuables, including bags, purses, wallets, briefcases, laptops, cell phones, loose change or anything that may appear valuable in plain view.

· If you have to leave valuables in your car, put them in the trunk before you go to your destination.

· Before you leave your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows, lock the car and set the alarm (if you have one). Keep your keys with you.

· If your car is stored in a carport or parked near your house, leave an outside light on. Lights make the car prowler more visible. If you park on the street, choose a well lit, open space.

· Park your vehicle in busy, well lit areas. Avoid parking near anything that limits visibility like dumpsters, large vans or trucks, or wooded areas.

One of the most important things you can do is report all suspicious activity to 911.