The number of incidents of car theft from vehicles in Milton Keynes reported between 1 April and 31 August has risen from 513 in 2016 to 718 in the same period this year.
The number marks a whopping 40 per cent increase in the crime.
A large proportion of victims are car owners who have left their vehicles unlocked with valuable items on display.
Self-employed trades people who have left tools in their vans overnight have also been targeted.
The Neighbourhood Policing team in Milton Keynes has responded by releasing a video, complete with a countdown timer, to raise awareness of the speed in which an offender can easily steal accessible items from a vehicle.
Inspector Michael Morland said: “Although we all lead busy lives, the cost, inconvenience and distress that theft causes is significant. You can protect your vehicle and any property within it by following a few simple steps.
“Always make sure you lock your car, wind up the windows and close the sunroof; even if you’re only leaving it for a few minutes. You should also double check the car is locked before leaving. It only takes a few seconds for your valuables to be stolen from an unlocked car.
“Remember never to leave valuable possessions such as handbags, laptops, phones or satellite navigation systems on show inside a vehicle. Even items of little value, such as shopping bags and clothing, may tempt a potential thief to break into the vehicle to see whether they contain anything worth stealing. You should always keep your possessions out of view, or take them with you.”
In relation to thefts from commercial vans, the area has also seen a rise in items being stolen. In one incident a cordless drill was left under the passenger seat of a van in Loughton Park.
Another case occurred in Great Linford, where the back doors of a van were left open and the owner reported that the vehicle had been searched overnight.
“Work tools are extremely valuable possessions and when stolen, can have a huge impact on small businesses. I would like to remind all van owners to remove their tools from the vehicle when it is left unattended overnight or for long periods of time,” added inspector Morland.
“We rely on information from members of the public to crack down on this type of crime. If anyone is offered tools for sale in suspicious circumstances, they should contact the police on 101, the non-emergency telephone number.”
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.