Security camera shows five hooded individuals walking on private property and looking into cars near the corner of West 8th St. and Chestnut St. 

The video owner, who chose to stay anonymous, says the figures were carrying hammers and crowbars, and he believes they were planning to break into vehicles before he scared them away. 

Erie Police say they are investigating the situation. 

But what can the everyday car owner do to prevent their vehicles from being broken into?

"Biggest thing is lock your cars," said Chuck Buszek, a patrolman with the Wesleyville Police Department.

"It seems really simple, but often people are busy, they forget, they're unloading groceries, getting small children out of the car. They're going about their day and they just forget. The biggest thing is lock your car. Double check it, triple check it, if you have to take your key fob to the bedroom before you go to bed, just double click it and make sure."

Buszek says car break-ins aren't unique to the City of Erie - his municipality sees it too.

"Unfortunately it's pretty often," continued Buszek. "I don't have an exact number, but we do take quite a few reports and I can tell you nearly 100% of those times when we speak with the victim the vehicle was unlocked."

So what else does Buszek recommend to vehicle owners to keep their property safe?

"The other biggest tip is don't leave anything valuable in the car," added Buszek. "Purses, jackets, firearms, those should never be left in a car. If they look in the windows and they see something valuable, they very well may break the window to get in, but most of them, [if] the cars unlocked, they pulled the door handle, they're taking whatever items they can see."