[Editor's Note: The following was written by Lt. James Duda of the New Milford Police Department].

Within the past few weeks the New Milford Police Department has investigated numerous car burglaries.

Vehicle burglaries are one of the most preventable crimes. The vehicle burglaries occurring in the 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, in people's own driveways or on the street out front of their homes.

Following are just a few steps that can dramatically reduce the risk of being a victim.

If available, always park a vehicle in a locked garage.

Always lock the doors to a vehicle, even when away from the vehicle for just a short time.

Never leave the car running and unattended. Even if just running into the store for a minute, this can be an invite to a thief.

Remove all valuables from the vehicle. If personal property can't be taken, lock the items in the trunk. Do not place them under the seat.

This includes a purse or wallet, CDs, books, cash, keys, cell phone, iPod, laptop, garage door opener, gym bag, briefcase, jewelry, tools, packages, etc.

If a thief breaks into a vehicle and steals a garage door opener and keys, he or she would have access to the home.

Remove the GPS units from the windshield or dashboard.

Do not leave any mail in the vehicle. These items have names, addresses and possibly contain personal financial information.

Remove "pull out" style stereos and/or removable faceplates of stereos.

Park in well-lit areas. At home, park the vehicle near porch lights. If not parked in a garage, install motion detection lights which will illuminate the driveway at night.

Set any alarm or anti-theft device that is installed on the vehicle.

If a car is stolen or burglarized, report it to the police immediately. Always roll up the windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of the home and the owner is running into the house or store for "just a minute."

Please report suspicious persons or activities immediately by calling the New Milford Police Department at 860-355-3133.

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

For more information, call NMPD at 860-355-3133 or e-mail jduda@newmilfordpolice.org.