Following two nights in which some three dozen cars were burglarized in Portland, police said they received no new reports of car break-ins Thursday morning.

Police department statistics requested by the Portland Press Herald show car burglaries are up slightly so far this year compared with the same period last year, but overall, car burglaries in 2014 were at the lowest in six years.

The city averages about two car burglaries a night, according to data provided by the Portland Police Department, though the break-ins sometimes come in clusters with several cars being hit in one area on a given day.

Following this week’s surge in car breaks, police increased patrols in the West Bayside and Parkside neighborhoods where the most recent break-ins occurred.

Five cars were broken into late Tuesday or early Wednesday in the park-and-ride lot on Marginal Way. At least two more cars parked farther down Marginal Way near the Miss Portland Diner also were targeted.

Previously, 30 vehicles were hit Monday night or Tuesday morning in the area of Somerset Street and lower Preble and State streets, along with a small cluster on Presumpscot Street.

This week’s break-ins were unusual because the thief or thieves smashed car windows to get in, police said. Most car burglaries in Portland involve cars that are left unlocked.

In the most recent car burglaries, items of value were left behind in several cars, including credit cards, electronics and sometimes even cash, police said.

Some of the cars were parked on streets, others in parking lots.

Lt. James Sweatt, a spokesman for the Portland Police Department, said the break-ins follow the same pattern, which leads him to believe that the same person or persons is involved.

A suspicious person was seen in the area of the break-ins early Wednesday morning, Sweatt said.

He was described as a white man, 5 feet 6 inches or 5 feet 7 inches tall, wearing a dark jacket, a single-strap shoulder bag and possibly a ball cap.

He was riding a 10-speed bicycle.

Data provided by the department show there have been 217 car burglaries this year so far through Wednesday, compared with 198 through the same period last year.

Overall, there were 452 car burglaries in 2014, a steep decline from the average of 737 for the five years prior, the data shows.

Police said the dramatic drop in car burglaries in 2014 may have been at least partly attributable to the arrest and convictions of some known car burglars, as well as residents being taking more precautions, such as hiding or removing valuables and locking their cars.

The highest concentration of car burglaries this year – as it was last year – was in the downtown area, which includes the Old Port, with 54, followed by West Bayside, with 35.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

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Twitter: @Mainehenchman