LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – As car thefts continue to rise across Southern Nevada, Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill spoke with 8 News Now Wednesday about ways drivers can protect themselves.

“At 8:30 in the morning it was gone,” Donald Perkins said.

He said he remembers the moment he knew his truck had been stolen.

“Violated,” Perkins recalled his immediate feeling. “Total violation.”

He told 8 News Now he feels the same way months later, as his vehicle was never found.

“It hurts the heart because it’s all your stuff,” Perkins said. “All your personal belongings.”

Perkins is one of many across the valley who has had this same experience. Recently, cars stolen by teenagers and young people have been involved in deadly crashes.

This included one crash that police said killed a local cyclist Monday and another earlier this month that took the life of three people in North Las Vegas.

“We are down in all violent crime,” Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said. “But we are up in auto theft.”

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has reported a 41% increase in car thefts across its jurisdiction compared to this time last year.

The northwest and Summerlin area commands have seen the highest spikes in this time period, at 92.5% and 83.6%.

Sheriff McMahill told 8 News Now everyone should be aware of the issue, but he added that those who are more susceptible depending on a car’s make and model, should take action.

“If you own a Hyundai or Kia, today, get a club,” Sheriff McMahill said. “Put it on your car, make it so they go to the next one.”

He also encouraged those who see something suspicious to say something.

Meanwhile, Perkins said it’s important to be ready for the worst to happen.

“It doesn’t matter what you have,” he concluded. “They’ll find a way.”

Heidari Law Group will distribute free car steering wheel locks beginning Thursday, August 17.

100 free locks will be given to Kia or Hyundai owners in the valley.

Anyone interested can visit their office at 611 South 6th Street or call 702-999-7777.