MEMPHIS, tenn (localmemphis.com) - When it comes to turning cars off, locking their doors and keeping valuables safe, Memphis has a huge problem.
According to Memphis Police, between January 1 and June 6, 2017, 540 cars have been stolen and they have more than 2,600 reports of thefts from cars. Items that have been stolen include everything from purses to guns.
"The bad guys are stealing those guns out of the car, and they're taking them and committing violent acts across the city," said Deputy Chief Mike Shearin.
Recently, MPD officers tapped into their acting skills for a PSA on keeping valuables and cars safe and posted it to their Facebook page in June.
In it, a woman dreams of officers warning her to turn her car off when she's not in it and take her valuables out.
Memphians told Local Memphis, taking a moment to take their valuables out and lock up their car is worth the peace of mind.
"I never show anything even if I have a bag that has nothing valuable in it," said Mary Beth Ogelsby, "I don't want to come back to a smashed window in my car which I know is pretty common, unfortunately."
"I just make sure nothing's in plain view. I take everything out that I don't want stolen," said Sophie Edwards.
Shearing said if officers weren't tied up with these crimes, they could do more proactive policing and investigate other crimes.
"We're short right now several hundred officers in the City of Memphis, and we're tying up officers having to take reports when these crimes shouldn't be committed," said Deputy Chief Shearin.
When it comes to stowing your valuables in your car, police say under the seat is the first place a burglar will check, and a blanket or clothing may give them a clue something is underneath.
They advise taking your valuables out or putting them in your trunk before you get to your next destination.
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