Police can't stress enough that leaving valuables inside of a car or truck in plain view is an invitation to thieves.

Port St. Lucie police are looking for men who have been punching through door-locks, especially on Ford F-Series pickups, with a long sharp tool. The method quickly lays waste to the lock, and gets the thief inside to heist credit cards, i-Pods, smart-phones and other valuables.

Because four of six vehicles broken into in the same parking lot were Ford trucks, we asked Ford if they are looking at whether there is a problem with their locks. The automaker says it monitors cases like these, and equips its trucks with anti-theft devices and systems.

Ford vehicles, including F-Series trucks, offer the latest in anti-theft technologies and features to help provide customers with peace of mind for the security of their vehicles and belongings, says Ford spokesman Mike Levine. " Since the 1990s, ford has offered a standard SecuriLock feature that helps prevent vehicles from being started without keys that have specially coded computer transponder chips. Ford continually monitors the performance of its vehicles and is confident locking mechanisms work properly in all of our vehicles. But, like any lock, thieves can overcome them."

Ford F-Series trucks are the top selling vehicle in America. Southern cities, especially Houston and Austin, report that Ford F Series trucks are their most stolen vehicles.

But pickups overall are targets. The Austin Police Department Auto Theft Interdiction Project is urging owners of large Chevy, Ford and Dodge pickup trucks to be aware that auto thieves are targeting these vehicles. Between January 1, 2012 and February 7, 2012 the City of Austin had 61 large trucks stolen compared to 25 the previously year during the same time frame. Detectives have noticed that trucks have become favorites among smugglers as they have been removing the back seats to make room for the crime. Most of the reported stolen trucks from the City of Austin are being recovered in Counties surrounding the South Texas Border.

The tips for avoiding having your car or truck stolen or broken into:

1. Take your Keys - Half of all vehicles stolen in Texas are the results of drivers leaving their keys behind.

2. Lock your car. Approximately half of all stolen vehicles are left unlocked.

3. Never leave your car running, even if you'll only be gone a minute. Many vehicles are stolen on cold mornings when owners leave them running to warm up or to get a quick cup of coffee at a convenience store.

4. Park in well-lit areas and don't leave valuables in your vehicle. Don't make your car a more desirable target and attract thieves.

5. Install protection devices - Visible steering wheel locks, ignition kill switches, fuel kill switches, alarms and vehicle tracking devices.

If you make your vehicle not worth the trouble to break into, most times thieves won't bother.

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