With people begin spending more time outside as the weather warms, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is encouraging residents to take the necessary precautions to keep thieves at bay.
CMPD is warning residents not to leave their lawn equipment, gardening tools and other valuables unprotected in the garage.
"When you have those in plain view with a garage door open, you're asking a criminal to walk up and take them," said South Division's Sgt. B.J. Thomas.
At this time of year, thieves begin to target these storage spaces, regardless of whether the homeowner is there, because residents often leave them unattended.
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Thieves are known to ride through neighborhoods scouting for open garages and other easy targets.
A recent study in one Charlotte neighborhood found a garage burglary can occur in as little as 15 seconds - the time it might take you to walk from the front yard to the back.
"When it's a pretty day and people are working in the yard, it's an easy opportunity to take something quickly and leave," said Thomas.
Many people don't realize something has been stolen until they need it.
On occasion, people have walked to the garage to find their vehicle missing.
The following are CMPD's tips for protecting property:
Close the garage door and lock the interior door to the garage each night.
Keep the garage closed while doing yardwork. It may be an inconvenience but can save hours of frustration. A thief can be in and out before you walk from the front yard to the back.
Keep your more valuable items (golf clubs, bikes, lawn mower, etc.) as far from the garage door as possible.
Lock car doors and don't leave garage-door openers in plain sight in your car.
Look out for your neighbors. If you notice their garage door open for long periods with no outdoor activity or if they appear to have called it a night, remind them to close the garage door.
Watch your garage door go completely down before driving off or walking away. Remote controls or wall-mounted switches can malfunction from time to time, leaving the door partly open.