2017 motor vehicle thefts increase 38 percent in Rapid City

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

Lock your doors and remember to grab your car keys, because Rapid City car theft is on the rise.

According to a Rapid City Police Department Crime Analysis report, there were 321 vehicles stolen last year. That’s a 38 percent increase from 2016.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 750,000 vehicles stolen nationwide in 2016, which is a $6 billion loss.

The good news, is that according to the Insurance Information Institute, South Dakota ranked fifth nationwide in 2016 for having the least amount of cars stolen.

RCPD Officer Jacob Lelacheur says to make sure you always lock your car and hide anything of value.

“Try not to leave anything exposed out in the open that would make someone want to enter your vehicle,” Lealacheur says. “If you are going hunting the next morning or something, maybe wait to bring your guns out the next morning. Try not to leave firearms unsecured.”

Lealacheur also says that many vehicles are stolen in residential areas. This could be attributed to drivers warming up their unattended cars during winter months.

“If you're going to warm your car up and you're going to leave it running, I would definitely lock it if you have a spare set of keys," Lealacheur says.

The NHTSA also says to park in well-lit areas and consider installing an anti-theft system.

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