MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – Criminals are targeting Nashville’s neighboring cities, and the Mt. Juliet Police Department says they are seeing a trend among criminals coming into the city.

“A lot of the offenders drive stolen vehicles into our community to commit more crime,” explained Caption Tyler Chandler.

Captain Chandler says criminals drive into the city looking for easy targets. He explains Mt. Juliet can be seen as a hunting ground for people looking to commit a crime. Because of how small and trusting the community is, a number of people comfortable enough to leave keys or valuables in their car.

“Sometimes even keys are left in vehicles and then they steal the car as well and take off in that vehicle, so that’s what they are after. They are really after those weapons and they are really after finding the keys,” explained Captain Chandler.

The city has implemented a license plate reader program, known as Guardian Shield. Camera’s located around the city are preventing the crime from happening.

One of the biggest crimes the cameras have helped solve was a TBI Most Wanted Suspect out of Springfield, who drove through Mt. Juliet. Police were able to match his license plate to the description of the vehicle, track his location and corner him to make an arrest.

“Our numbers are down significantly. Vehicle burglaries are down 48 percent and stolen vehicles are down 36 percent in our community,” explained Captain Chandler. “So by using Guardian Shield and then advocating to our community to always lock your vehicle.”

Another major factor is the location of Mt. Juliet.

Captain Chandler says, “the overwhelming majority of offenders come out of Nashville; they have Nashville residencies. The majority of the crime in our community, about 98 percent are not residence of Mt. Juliet.”

Captain Chandler says it’s a team effort to keep crime down, stating camera’s only help do part of the work. He’s encouraging people to remember to lock their car door, remember to remove the keys and valuables from inside, and never leave a gun in your car unattended.