FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 24, 2013) -- While summer brings many outside for recreation, it also attracts a higher number of criminals looking for valuable items in vehicles.

Directorate of Emergency Services officials warn that thefts increase when cars are unlocked or windows are left open. Fort Benning Chief of Police Kevin Clarke said Families can use simple precautions to avoid becoming the next victims of larceny.

"Most of our larcenies are crimes of opportunity," he said. "People may have left their doors unlocked, garage doors open or expensive items left out on the front lawn or patio."

Clarke said the most common culprits are minors who target neighborhoods and other high population areas for small, yet expensive items like smartphones, tablets, GPS devices and MP3 players left in plain sight. Often items are sold to pawn shops or traded among peers.

"People feel a sense of security on military bases where they live in close proximity to a lot of friends and feel it's OK to leave car doors unlocked," he said. "There are a lot of other people walking the streets and those could be opportunities that could be too hard for them to pass up. Sometimes a small group of kids may realize how easy it is and then they begin to repeat it."

Larger, high value items might be recovered at pawn shops, while other items may never be recovered. Clarke said garage door openers should also be removed from cars to prevent home and garage thefts.

"A parked (unlocked) vehicle outside of your garage or house with an opener for your garage door in it is like leaving your home unsecured," he said. "Lock your car doors or at a minimum, remove the garage door opener from the visor and bring it indoors to protect yourself and your Families from larcenies."