There has been an 80 percent increase in vehicle burglaries in Eastlake in the first of half of this year, according to Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD).
NBC 7 was first notified of the break-ins by a resident who lives in the area.
CVPD Lt. Fritz Reber confirmed there were 459 car burglaries at the beginning of this year. That number is nearly doubled compared to last year when there were 258 car burglaries during the same period.
Reber said there has been an average of 90 burglaries each month this year.
Some residents in the area told NBC 7, it's the first time they've had to worry about their belongings in what is typically a pretty quiet and safe neighborhood.
"I know there were a couple of cars that got broken into. There have been people talking about people going through cars, trying to open them," Eastlake resident Arnold Alonzo said. "So I try not to leave valuables out in the open. Even my backpack from the gym, I take it back to the house to make sure nobody is looking in the car."
CVPD Lt. Kenny Heinz said people are driving through neighborhoods looking for cars with valuables that have been left by the owners in plain view.
“Quite often, people are victims simply because they leave some high-priced item sitting out in plain view. We call it crimes of opportunity,” Heinz said.
Heinz said in many cases, the break-ins are happening because of unlocked cars.
He also urged people to contact police if they see any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods.
“Recently, I did a town hall meeting with a group of residents regarding this topic. I found a lot of people had seen numerous people throughout their community that they didn’t recognize and they felt funny about it, but they didn’t wanna bother the police,” he said.
Heinz said if you see something, report it.