WASHINGTON - The dog days of summer are bringing out the car thieves and officials are warning drivers to be careful in the D.C. region.
While officials say car thefts are at their highest during the months of July and August, there is a bit of good news in the District and Maryland.
Recently released statistics from AAA reveal auto thefts in the District have dropped 66 percent and are down 55 percent in Maryland since 2007.
As the District and Maryland have seen decreases, Virginia has actually increased 36 percent since 2014.
According to AAA, Prince George's County ranks the highest in car thefts in Maryland, and a car is stolen every 40 minutes in the state.
Law enforcement agencies remind car owners to always lock their doors and to hide all valuables such as purses, phones, tablets, laptops and loose change.
According to AAA, 50 percent of the vehicles stolen in Maryland had the keys inside and 60 percent were left unlocked.