A North County community is experiencing a dramatic increase in car break-ins.
Carlsbad Police Department say in 2015, car burglaries were up almost 50 percent from the year before.
And that trend continues in 2016.
Just last week, six educators at the Carlsbad Country Day School had personal items stolen from their vehicles all in the same day.
As bad as that sounds, it is only a snapshot of the plague of property crimes crawling across Carlsbad.
Parked cars around most trailheads or beach parking areas have electronics in the front seat, workout bags, purses, sun glasses and open windows.
“If we leave the car unlocked and there are items in the car, they will steal them, even if it's a photo album,” victim Melissa Reed said.
A mother of seven, Melissa Reed is a statistic in Carlsbad's car break-in crime wave.
She has been victimized four times in the last two years. In March, a second navigation system was stolen from her car parked in the driveway. Thieves cracked the windshield in the process.
“We lock the cars now. We learned our lesson. Either lock up or your stuff in it gets taken,” Reed said.
Reed's Seaside Estates' neighborhood is a common target.
In the last year, Danielle Kroll had a 400 dollar stroller and sleeve of kids video stolen from her car left unlocked.
“I was mad and sad. I was sad that my favorite stroller that I just gotten for Christmas was gone and mad somebody was cruising in my neighborhood and touching my stuff,” Kroll said.
Police have responded with signs at the beach parking areas warning visitors to lock their cars and doing spot checks on neighborhoods that appear vulnerable.
“We've posted things on Facebook and Twitter and all over the place, just trying to remind people to remove the property from their vehicles,” Carlsbad Police Department spokesperson, Jodee Sasway said.
The strategy has made a dent.
More stolen items have been recovered year to year and arrests are up 15 percent since 2015.
“I lock the car every single night and I'm conscious about leaving sunglasses or anything out,” Kroll said.
Don't wait to be a victim. Keep what you need in your car out of sight, and always lock your doors.
Prevention is the best medicine.
Police say car thieves work in teams and migrate seasonally.
Their summers are spent at the beach and activity areas such as hiking and bike trails. Later in the year they work in residential areas.
Don't assume you're any safer parked in your own driveway than a crowded beach.