NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Car thefts are up in Norfolk this month. Forty cars have been stolen across the city since January 1.

According to police, 55 percent of them had been running unattended or had keys left inside.

Police say the cold weather is partially to blame.

They say during the cold winter days and nights people are getting into their cars and starting the engine in order get the heat going, then leaving the cars unattended, with the doors unlocked.

Jesse Booth lives and parks in Ghent, one of the areas that has been victimized.

“Just lock your car, don’t walk away from it, if your keys are in your car that’s a horrible idea,” said Booth.

Frederick Williams is in a band, which means thousands of dollars worth of instruments could be in his car at any time. He only parks in certain places.

“Definitely try to park under a street light or anything of that nature,” said Williams.

Felicia Sadler and Daniel Killebrew rely on the buddy system.

“Did you lock your car honey? You need to lock your car,” said Sadler.

Killebrew said he’s had a car stolen once and doesn’t want it to happen again. It’s a terrible feeling.

“First of all it makes me feel angry, second of all I’m going to need to check my policy, but it’s upsetting,” said Killebrew.