BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — Cornwells Heights Park and Ride in Bensalem Township is getting a reputation as unsafe.

“Lately, it seems like a rash of break-ins,” said Denise Ballantyne.

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“This has been going on for a while,” added Walt Livingston.

Earlier this month, Eyewitness News visited the often packed lot after hearing complaints from viewers that thefts are on the rise. We got the numbers from Pa. State Police and found that it’s true, thefts are up.

According to State Police, in 2009, there were 5 reported thefts. In 2010, that number tripled to 15. So far this year, 11 people have been victims of theft.

Mary Lavanga is number eleven. Her catalytic converter was stolen from her Honda CRV last week.

“Someone used a saw to saw off my catalytic converter and caused $3,100 worth of damage to my car in the process,” Lavanga said.

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Out of the 11 thefts so far, at least three have been catalytic converters. State police recognize that there is a problem, but they wouldn’t go into detail about how they are monitoring the parking lots.

Signs warning perpetrators that the lot is under surveillance don’t seem to be a deterrent. We found iPod connectors and other valuables in plain sight. State police advise riders to keep those sorts of items in a safe place where people can’t see them.

In Mary’s case, she didn’t leave anything out in the open for the criminals, but still became a victim.

“Up until last week I felt safe,” said Lavanga. “Now, I don’t know. I know it was random, but that night it was my car.”

Watch this video…

Reported by Jericka Duncan, CBS3

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