Car burglaries have been on the rise, and Stillwater police are urging car owners to lock up.

“These cases are for the most part crimes of opportunity,” police Capt. Randy Dickerson said.

In April, police took 37 reports of burglaries from cars. All but three of the cars were unlocked, Dickerson said.  

This month, 18 car burglaries have been reported so far, and 14 of those vehicles were unlocked.

“To me, it’s just remarkable so many of these are unlocked vehicles,” Dickerson said.

Burglars have also stolen five cars since the beginning of April. In all of those cases, unlocked cars had keys inside, Dickerson said.

Areas hit hardest by car break-ins include the area of Sixth Avenue and Wicklow Street; a neighborhood northeast of Boomer Lake; a neighborhood west of Washington Road near Boomer Lake; and the 2000 block of North Perkins Road.

“It’s obvious that we have a group or groups of people doing this,” Dickerson said.

One person will drop off a group to scale a neighborhood for unlocked cars, he said. It’s called car hopping.

Police are investigating.

Always lock car doors and immediately report suspicious activity to police, Dickerson said. An officer can usually arrive within a few minutes, he said. The police department can be reached at (405)372-4171.

One recent burglary report that got a lot of attention was the theft of Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson’s crown, two brooches and a mahogany case. They were left in an unlocked car for about 20 minutes April 22, her father Robert Thompson said. The Thompsons offered a $500 reward, but the items were never returned.