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Residents in Spring Garden Township are again being cautioned to lock their car doors and not leave valuables in plain view after eight cars were broken into Wednesday night.

Sgt. David Zurn said the cars broken into were all in the Villa Green neighborhood, and many of the victims' cars were left unlocked. He added that the number of reported vehicle break-ins is up from last year.

The most recent reports all concentrated in the area of Penn State York, he said. A news release listed South Albemarle Street and Lancaster, Springdale and East Springettsbury avenues specifically.

"We've had an increase in theft from motor vehicles; we've had an increase in motor vehicle thefts, as well," Zurn said.

Since May, reports of increases in overnight break-ins of cars have come from other York County townships, too. While there is no definitive evidence to say the crimes are being committed by the same group or by several groups, Zurn said the prevalence alone is enough to indicate that it is not just one person.

The best defense against falling victim to what Zurn categorized as a crime of opportunity is to deny would-be thieves the easy access to the vehicle.

"Lock your car doors. In almost all of these incidents, the (car) doors were unlocked," he said.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity in their neighborhood is encouraged to call 911. Do not try to confront someone; rather, give the police the opportunity to catch the thief in the act, Zurn said.

Anyone with information as to who might be responsible for some of the reported break-ins or any other crime in York County is advised to call Crime Stoppers at 755-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a cash reward.

— Reach John Joyce at jjoyce2@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter @JohnJoyceYD.

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