LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city of Louisville is trying a new approach to the old problem of car break-ins.

Signs are going up across city to remind drivers of simple steps they can take to prevent thefts: "lock, take and hide." For Louisville resident Ray Kotarski, not even valet parking could keep his car from getting hit by thieves. 

"I mean, the car was just trashed," said Kotarski, who was in downtown Louisville earlier this year to celebrate his anniversary with a night out at Fourth Street Live!. The party, however, didn't last long. 

"Everything that was in the glove box, in the armrest, in the trunk ... was just all throughout the entirety of the car," Kotarski said. "So, I knew I had been victimized immediately."

Officer Robert Oliver, with the Louisville Metro Police Department's First Division, said break-ins have been a big problem for a long time. There have been a lot of guns stolen from cars, including several this week. While looking for ways to combat the problem, though, Oliver found a possible solution. 

"I found a city in California that (used) this program," Oliver said. "It curbed some of the break-ins." 

Now, 130 colorful signs are being posted across the city to serve as a reminder to lock your car, take your keys and take your belongings. Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith, a Democrat who represents District 4, helped pay for signs and hopes the friendly reminders will pay off. 

"Just in the last year, in the Central Business District, we have seen theft from automobiles increase by almost 38%," Sexton Smith said. 

Kotarski still hasn't recovered any of his valuables, which he said totaled more than $1,000, that were taken from his car. Not taking his belongings with him was a costly mistake, but he hopes the new signs will prove to be crucial reminders for him others around Louisville to lock, take and hide. 

All of the "lock, take, hide" signs are expected to be posted around the city by December.

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