With school out and the weather heating up, more people are heading outdoors - including car thieves.
Car theft is on the rise at some East Bay parks, and authorities say the number of burglaries is expected to jump in the summer months.
Lafayette Reservoir is one of five hot spots within the East Bay Regional Parks District for such thefts. The district boasts about 1,200 square miles of peaceful escape, but it’s now dealing with an urban-area problem.
"What the thieves are doing is they are looking for backpacks, purses, laptop bags," said Lt. Alan Love of the parks district.
According to crime data obtained by NBC Bay Area, there have been nearly a thousand car break-ins in the park district since 2013.
Tilden Regional Park saw the most, followed by McLaughlin East Shore Park in Berkeley, Briones Park in Martinez, Point Isabel Park in Richmond and Lafayette Reservoir.
Love said those rankings pretty much fall in line with the district's most visited parks. And thieves know they have time at these venues as park visitors tend to spend a good part of a day enjoying the outdoors.
"That’s kind of scary that I am hearing about these break-ins because I park here a lot," said Nicole Throw, of Orinda.
Law enforcement officials say the best way to avoid being a target of thieves is to leave your valuables at home or locked out of sight when you plan to visit a park.