Faced with an increase in vehicle thefts, Nassau County officials are urging residents to take common-sense steps to avoid loss.

Always lock your vehicle, even in the driveway or garage, never leave your keys in the vehicle and never leave the vehicle running while unattended, the officials said in a news release Thursday night.

They also recommended, among other things, that drivers park in well-lit areas, consider installing a visible anti-theft device or audible alarm, and never leave a spare key in the vehicle.

“Most important, we want to remind people when they are leaving or returning to their vehicles, they should be observant of cars and people who appear suspicious,” acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and County Executive Edward Mangano said in a joint statement.

Vehicle theft was the only crime category countywide to have an increase in 2016, increasing by 2 percent over 2015, from 478 to 488, officials told Newsday last month.

At the time officials attributed the increase to two patterns: thieves targeting commercial vans and, separately, 10 vehicle thefts from in front of convenience stores while the owners left the keys in the ignitions.

“We had 10 people alone who went into 7-Eleven while they left them running,” Krumpter said last month. “So we do need the community’s help. While we’d like to be able to leave our cars running in front of 7-Eleven, it really isn’t in anybody’s best interest to do so.”

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