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Car thefts in Woodburn have increase by more than a third during the past 5 months compared to the same period a year ago

Woodburn Police Department has recorded a significant surge in car thefts this year, according to the most recent police report.

Police records show the total number of stolen vehicles reported in Woodburn between Jan. 1 and May 1 of this year tallied 101, up from 75 between the same period in 2019.

"The city has seen a rash of car thefts," said Woodburn City Administrator Scott Derickson. "For whatever reason, it seems to be growing to almost a daily occurrence in Woodburn."

Derickson added that some vehicles, typically older ones that are easier to break into, have been the most targeted.

"Just encourage people to not leave their cars running, keep them locked, don't leave valuables in them, keep your cars parked in places that are well lit and can be seen and, hopefully, we will be able to push that number down," Derickson added.

WPD Lt. Andy Shadrin agreed, citing a police graphic that highlights prevention tips, including locking cars, closing all windows and hiding any valuables that may be in the vehicle. The tips also stressed to never leave keys in the vehicle or leave the vehicle idling while unattended.

As if to emphasize the point, the Gervais Police Department posted May 6 on its Facebook page that three cars recently had been been stolen, an unusually high number for a city of less than 3,000 people.

The post noted three things in common — all three stolen vehicles were unlocked with keys in the ignition and the engines running. Gervais Police advised residents to stay in their vehicles if they're warming them up in the morning and to otherwise keep their car doors locked at all times.

"If your neighbor leaves a door unlocked or open, if a vehicle appears to be running while unattended, then contact your neighbor or give us a call," the post said.

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