FLORIDA KEYS (CBSMiami) – Truck tailgates have become a new target for thieves in South Florida.

The nationwide epidemic has now spread into the Keys according to Monroe County officials.

Detectives are warning the public and offering a simple solution: lock the tailgate.

According to officials, an experienced thief can steal a tailgate in a matter of seconds. Locking it deters the thief, who usually looks for an easy target.

Other ways of preventing tailgate thefts include parking in a locked garage or parking in reverse with the tailgate up against a structure.

In a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, tailgate thefts have risen by 31 percent between 2012 and 2013.

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