ROANOKE, Va. -

The term is new. The crime is not.

"It's been going on since Roman times and stealing from chariots I think," joked Roanoke Police Sergeant J.V. Buzzo.

He was talking about "car hopping'" a crime of opportunity that targets unlocked cars. 

"Even if there's not anything valuable in the car, any big item in the car, lock it," Buzzo told us Friday afternoon. "That way people aren't in there just rummaging through it trying to find your loose change, your GPS, your phone chargers, your iPods."

Roanoker Lloyd Gergler  follows that advice

"Always do," Gergler told us. "No matter where I am. About the only time I don't lock it is when I stop in front of the house and get out and get my mail , but other than that yeah it's always locked."

And Buzzo says there's something else you can do.

"They're not going to bust your window out if there's not something to take, so don't leave your valuables in sight in the car," he said. "And don't throw a blanket over your purse. No one is going to fall for the pregnant blanket. Everybody knows there's a purse under there."

The police department has used the slogan "lock it or lose it."
With continuing evidence that car hopping is alive and well,  Buzzo says he hopes more Roanokers will follow that simple advice.