The Chattanooga Police Department is urging people to be more responsible when it comes to cooling off their cars now that the temperature is starting to rise.

Police are seeing an uptick in auto thefts across the city and the department is receiving more reports of thieves stealing valuables from inside cars.

"Please stop leaving keys in the car and stop leaving your valuables inside the car, especially those valuables that are visible,” advised Captain Jerri Sutton.

Police say if you think it could never happen to you, think again.

That’s the message Capt. Sutton delivered to a driver along Market Street Tuesday afternoon who left her car running while she went inside the post office.

"Even if your door was secured, a thief could have made away with your car in less than 30 seconds. Go ahead and turn off your engine before you go into a store or a place of business because in a blink of an eye your car can be taken away,” Capt. Sutton told the woman.

The woman admitted to leaving her car running with no one inside often but told Channel 3 she won’t make that mistake again.

The Chattanooga Police Department provided statistics showing an increase in vehicle thefts and thefts from vehicles in 2017 compared to 2016.

Auto Theft 

  • Jan 1-April 30, 2016  =276
  • Jan 1-April 30, 2017  =326

Theft From Auto 

  • Jan 1-April 30, 2016  = 667
  • Jan 1-April 30, 2017  = 698

Officers say in many cases it can be difficult to recover a stolen vehicle.

According to the department, many of these crimes are happening in the North Chattanooga area.