ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ (WCBS 880) –  Residents in northern New Jersey are being reminded to lock their cars following a rise in thefts.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story

Police said organized gangs of thieves have been snatching expensive electronics from unlocked cars and in other instances stealing luxury vehicles.

In many cases, the thefts could have been prevented.

Police said many of the cars were unlocked with the key fobs left inside the vehicles.

“They’re just going by and checking the handles,” Englewood Cliffs police chief Michael Cioffi said.

It should be second nature to lock your car, but all too often the relative safety of the suburbs lulls people into a pattern of lazy habits.

Cioffi said this new generation of car thieves is smarter than the previous batch.

“They have new technology on their side that they are using, which I really don’t want to get in detail to,” he said.

So far this year, thieves have stole 13 cars from Englewood Cliffs and rummaged through nearly two dozen unlocked vehicles which were parked in residents’ driveways.

Thefts are also on the rise in Montvale, Mahwah, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Ramsey, Woodcliff Lake, Englewood, and Cresskill, as well as Wayne in Passaic County.

Do you lock your car? Share your answer in the comments section below!