CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Car break-ins have been on the rise in western Massachusetts and car owners should be taking a few basic measures to protect themselves.

The “smash-and-grab” is one of the most common forms of larceny in the U.S. in which thieves break into your car and steal any valuable items they can find.

To protect yourself from this type of crime it is recommended that you always keep any and all valuables out of sight. Whether it be a purse, backpack, or even loose change, don’t keep them lying around your seats, dashboard, or floor.

It’s also a good idea to park in highly visible areas or in well-lit places, like near a lamppost. Always lock your car and activate a security system if you have one.