CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- With car theft on the rise in Charlottesville, it is important to know what thieves are looking for in their next strike. 

According to data from the National Crime Information Center, vehicle thefts nationwide surpassed the one million mark in 2022 for the first time in nearly 15 years, and Lending Tree reports that Charlottesville’s vehicle theft rate increased by slightly more than 100 percent between 2019 and 2021. 

Many victims of car theft leave their doors unlocked, allowing the thief an easy steal. 

“Locking your vehicle every single time. People feel comfortable in some areas leaving their vehicle unlocked. That’s a very dangerous thing to do because it takes the thief just a second or two to get into that vehicle and it can be gone,” Triple AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson, Morgan Dean, said.  

Dean also says as the weather gets colder, many people like to go out and start their cars early to warm up before driving off, which makes the car an easy target. It is recommended that you wait to unlock your car until you are ready to use it.