PALMETTO - A string of car burglaries in Palmetto has residents on high alert. 

“Right after the first of the year we were greeted with burglaries to unlocked cars in different parts of Palmetto and two guns were taken in one night," said Palmetto Police Department Chief, Scott Tyler. 

Palmetto Police Department Chief, Scott Tyler says car burglaries went up 14 percent in the city last year, and in the first weeks of the month of January, the city has already seen a number of thefts.

“It’s really all over, west side and east side, and even neighborhoods that are traditionally pretty quiet, generally those are happening at night and as we actually have video surveillance from doorbell cameras and video surveillance systems on homes where three people will walk down the road they’ll go on each side of the road and just try car doors in driveways," said Chief Tyler. 

Chief Tyler says a majority of the burglaries were due to the cars being unlocked and valuables left in plain sight

“We really need people, we need your help, we need people to lock their cars, take their valuables out of your cars, especially your firearms, firearms don’t belong left in unattended vehicles, lock your cars, take your keys in and unfortunately the police can’t be everywhere so that would be very effective.”

Palmetto resident, Abigail Luciano says around 4 in the morning her husband’s car alarm went off

“We went outside and found the window of the car broken, we then knew someone wanted to steal something from inside the car," said Luciano. 

Luciano says her husband’s backpack with tools was stolen, costing them a total loss of $200. Chief Tyler says it’s up to residents to make sure their car is locked and secured.

“We can’t do anything about desires to commit crimes, we can’t do anything about the skill the ability to commit crimes but we can take away the opportunity and that’s what we’re looking to do, please lock your cars," said Chief Tyler. 

If you are a victim of car burglary, or have any information call the Palmetto Police Department at 941-721-2000.