MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This weekend several events are taking place in Memphis, from the Barbecue Cooking Contest to the Bluff City Fair.

As thousands prepare to enjoy the city, newly released data suggest that you may want to think twice where you park, because thieves are lurking.

With Barbecue Fest in full swing at Tom Lee Park, several parking vendors are hoping to cash in on this opportunity. But car thieves and burglars may be looking to cash in as well.

Newly released data from Memphis Police has shown that since the beginning of the year, there have been 5,971 auto thefts, compared to the same time last year when the city had 2,294.

That’s a 160% increase.

The report revealed that the top five cars targeted by thieves are Hyundai, Kia, Infiniti, Nissan, and Dodge. Hyundai and Kia have accounted for nearly 40 percent of the auto thefts In Memphis.

It is these stats that vendors believe underscore the need for secure parking.

“We stay until everyone has left at night,” parking vendor Carolyn Young said. “So, we walk around. There’s always two or three people here on the property and we even sleep in the building when we need to.” 

Not only are they having to patrol the lot but Young says security cameras are up in hopes that it can deter crime.

“We try to make it safe for everyone,” she said.