(File photo)

The Victoria Police Department is warning residents of a rise in thefts from vehicles in the Victoria and Esquimalt area after dozens of reported cases were filed last week.

According to Vic PD’s Crime Analysis and Intelligence Section, thefts from vehicles have increased since the beginning of 2019.

See also: Saanich police warn that thefts from vehicles are on the rise

In just three days, between July 5th and 8th, the department received 23 reports of thefts from vehicles.

The thefts persist despite VicPD’s directed efforts, like K9 officers specifically assigned to preventing vehicle crime and teams researching theft hotspots.

While thefts from vehicles continue, VicPD’s K9 unit has stopped a number of burglaries in progress.

On June 16th, VicPD received a report of a theft from a vehicle in the Hillside Avenue area just before midnight.

K9 officers quickly arrived and spotted a man still partially inside of a vehicle. Officers then recovered several allegedly stolen items from the man’s possession and transported him to holding cells where he was released on a promise to appear in court.

See also: Sidney RCMP ask drivers to lock car doors after surge in vehicle theft

Less than a week later, on June 22nd, VicPD officers responded to multiple reports of a man trying to open car doors in the 500-block of Niagara Street.

When officers and a K9 unit arrived, they located the man inside of a vehicle. According to police, he was intoxicated and taken into custody without incident.

With thefts from vehicles on the rise, VicPD are advising residents to secure their car doors and remove any valuables from their vehicles in the evening.

“Thefts from vehicles are often crimes of opportunity that tend to happen during later hours,” said VicPD in a statement.

“VicPD K9 officers are encouraging you to be part of the ‘9 p.m. ritual’ of ensuring all valuables are removed from your vehicle after 9 p.m. at night. A large portion of thefts from vehicles occur after dark.”

If you see someone looking into vehicles or trying to open door handles, VicPD asks that you call 911.

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