Motorists have heard these warnings countless times: Don't tempt thieves. Don't leave valuables in your car. Yet such common-sense advice is often ignored.

In New York City, the theft of valuables from cars has become such a problem that police officers have developed a new way to remind residents they're leaving themselves vulnerable to crooks.

Police in Brooklyn are taking pictures of valuables left in vehicles, then mailing the pics to the car owners, the New York Post reports. The mailing includes the picture and a note that says, "If we spot it, so can thieves."

Not all residents are pleased with this tactic. Harry Robles, 49, tells The Post the program gives police officers an bogus excuse to run license plate numbers.

"When they run the plates, everything comes up -- like summonses or tickets," he told the newspaper. "I know how cops work. There's something else going on."

How you can prevent car theft

Here are a few tips on how you can prevent car theft and theft of valuables from cars:

- The first is simple. Don't leave your purse, laptop or cell phone in plain view.

- When exiting your vehicle, ask yourself, 'Do I have my key?" and "Are the doors and windows closed and locked?"

- Park in a well-lit area.

- When parking at home, park in the garage, if possible, instead of your driveway.

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