PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — Law enforcement in Tazewell County are investigating a recent uptick in car burglaries.

As summer begins to wind down, Pekin Police said thieves stealing items inside cars have not. Public information officer Billie Jo Ingles said Pekin has recently experienced a significant increase in that crime.

“It’s different places. Most recently we’ve seen it on the south side of town but it has been throughout Pekin,” Ingles said.

Some of the burglaries have been smash and grabs, but most are perpetrators finding vehicles that are not secure.

“If the vehicles unlocked, somebody’s going to get in, they’re going to go through it and get change, sunglasses, whatever they think is something that they want to have,” Ingles said.

Pekin isn’t the only city seeing an increase in car burglaries. Deputy Nathan Hastings with the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office’s crime prevention unit said smaller communities are being targeted as well.

“We’ve done our best to try to do extra patrols and to get our guys out there and get seen in the neighborhoods,” Hastings said.

He explained that there are also steps the community can take to prevent becoming a victim, like locking their doors and taking valuables inside their home.

“If we have an area where we can’t do that like if we’re at work and it’s in a parking garage, we want to make sure that we take the time to hide those valuables either in a trunk or in a bag that’s covered with a blanket,” Hastings said.

Police say if you see something suspicious it’s important that you say something to authorities.

“The more that we have, the more we have to go on, so we can connect them and possibly come to a conclusion,” Ingles said.

Hastings said law enforcement has been collecting evidence and feels they are getting closer to making arrests. He said sometimes thieves work in groups, or it could be one person going from community to community.

If you have been a victim or have any information regarding the burglaries, you’re encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office or your local police department.