More than a dozen calls were made last week to the New Milford Police Department about car break-ins from residents in neighborhoods along the Route 202 corridor.

Thieves were reported stealing everything from dashboard navigational devices to wrapped Christmas gifts.

One car was broken into for a single dollar bill, according to the police log.

Police Lt. James Duda said the department has been investigating a rash of car burglaries.

He encourages residents and car owners to be particularly vigilant during this time of year about locking car doors and removing any and all valuables from cars, even when they are parked in the person's home driveway.

"Vehicle burglaries are one of the most preventable crimes," Lt. Duda said in a news release. "The vehicle burglaries that are occurring in the New Milford area are not necessarily happening in shopping mall parking lots or while people are parked at their place of business."

"These crimes are occurring at night," the release continued, "in people's own driveways or on the street out front of their homes."

The most recent rash of larcenies was reported on Taylor Terrace and the Park Lane East area.

Lt. Duda offered a list of ways people can dramatically reduce the chances of becoming victims of such a crime spree:

Park cars in a locked garage; always lock the doors to the car; never leave the car running and unattended; and remove all valuables, including purses, wallets, CDs, cash, keys, computers, jewelry, tools and packages, or at least lock them in the trunk while traveling or doing errands.

"If a thief breaks into your vehicle and steals your garage door opener and keys, (the thief) then has access to your home," Lt. Duda reminded.

Dashboard navigational devices should be removed, as should pull-out stereos, he said. Personal mail of any kind should not be left inside a car because, again, if it is stolen, the thief has the owner's address and possibly financial information.

Residents are encouraged to park in lighted areas and to set car alarms or anti-theft devices inside their cars.

If a car were to be stolen or burglarized, residents should call police immediately, Lt. Duda advised.

"Through a cooperative effort between the public and law enforcement," he said, "we can reduce these and other types of crimes."

For more information or to report suspicious activity, call the NMPD at 860-355-3133.