DEAL After a series of thefts, police in a Jersey Shore town told residents to lock their cars at night or take the blame for "inviting a criminal element" into the community.

Deal police said they issued the reminder after several vehicles were reported stolen last week. They placed the blame squarely on residents for continuing to leave their vehicles unlocked and the key fobs inside. In some cases, police said, doors were left wide open with the vehicle running.

"Every single vehicle was left unlocked with the keys inside. This is gross negligence on the part of the vehicle owner," the message reads. "There is absolutely no excuse for this. Our officers have been placed in very dangerous situations because our residents refuse to LOCK their vehicles."

Police said they have tried many times to get residents to lock up but said their message seems to be "falling on deaf ears."

It was also noted that officers are sometimes in danger when they try to recover the stolen vehicles.

"Without your cooperation and due diligence this problem will only get worse. LOCK YOUR CARS," the department said.

Denville police issued a similar statement about three cars with unlocked doors that weer burglarized at the beginning of July. They also said a credit card was removed from one of the cars and was used to make fraudulent purchases.

"We can not stress enough that you need to lock your vehicles and remove all valuables, to include GPS devices, credit cards and especially the car keys, every night regardless if you are parked on the street or in your driveway," Denville police said.

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