As the temps go up, so do crimes at trailheads

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - As the weather gets warmer, crooks get bolder.

An increase in temperature isn't the only thing the spring and summer months bring -- Springs police caution there's an increase in car break-ins as well.

Police say it happens because people are more likely to leave windows and cars unlocked, making it pretty easy for these thieves. But don't think you're safe just because you remember to lock your doors -- brazen crooks are plenty willing to smash your windows if they spot something they want.

And also don't think a busy parking lot will deter thieves. An 11 News employee found that out the hard way a few summers ago when her car was broken into in the middle of a busy afternoon at the popular Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Crooks smashed her window and stole her purse, hidden underneath her seat. By the time she returned from her run an hour later, they'd already had time to go on a shopping spree with her debit cards.

"It's so easy. It takes only a second or two to smash out that window, reach in, and take whatever item of value that you might have left behind. Not to mention the expense of repairing your window," said Lt. Howard Black with the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Black says officers want residents to enjoy all the outdoor recreation the city has to offer, but to be smart about it.

"We ask folks: enjoy our beautiful parks, but really think about what you're taking with you. And if you have to take a purse or a wallet, conceal that in the trunk prior to arriving at the park. Don't leave anything that is obvious on the inside of this car."

But even a trunk isn't always a safe bet, as Black pointed out to 11 News.

"Almost all cars in today's times, you can have the ability to get into the trunk from the interior of the car. So they smash out a window, pop your trunk and take out your personal belongings."

Some vehicles do have a way to lock the interior lever used to pop trunks, or have locks on glove compartments and center consoles. If your vehicle has none of these, your best bet is to just leave all valuables at home. Even if it does, unless it's absolutely necessary, you can never go wrong driving to a hike empty-handed.

"Our parks are very safe, but there are always those incidences," Black said.