Motorists warned to remove property from parked cars

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POLICE in Warwickshire want to remind motorists to remove property from their cars when they leave them parked up.

In recent weeks police have seen an increase in the number reports of cars being broken in to – or where vehicles have been left unlocked – with property left on view inside, being stolen.

Extra patrols by Safer Neighbourhood Teams have started in a bid to raise awareness with motorists about the dangers of leaving property on show in vehicles.

George Stepney, Community Protection Manager with Warwickshire Police said: “Motorists have to take responsibility for their own possessions. Leaving property on view inside an unattended car is inviting thieves to break-in and steal it.

“For a thief, seeing something inside an unattended car, whether it is in a car park, parked outside your home, or parked up in the street, it is like going window shopping and it only takes them a matter of seconds to break in and steal what they can see.”

In Warwickshire the number of reports of cars being broken into has seen a rise from 198 reported incidents in July to 265 incidents in August.

Most attractive to car thieves are high value, easily portable items such as Sat Navs, handbags and briefcases. But other things such as sports bags, coats, CDs, even a collection of loose change on view inside a car will attract an opportunist thief.

In a recent 24-hour period the following items were stolen from vehicles in Warwickshire.:

Three Sat Navs0

Two stereo systems

A bag containing a projector

A bag containing a lap top

An Ipod (from a car which had been left unlocked)

A hand bag.

In stealing the property all the vehicles, which the exception of the one which had been left unlocked, required repairs to smashed windows or broken locks, meaning the vehicle will be off the road for a period of time, adding to the inconvenience to the motorist.

George Stepney addedP: “It only takes a couple of minutes for you to remove property from your car, but it can take weeks to get a car repaired after it has been broken in to, causing untold inconvenience and the need to spend time sorting everything out and arranging alternative transport. ”

The advice from the police to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of theft from your car is:

· Avoid parking your car in isolated or out of the way, poorly lit areas.

· Always remove property from inside the car when you park up.

· If you cannot avoid taking property with you in the car put it in the boot BEFORE you start your journey. If you transfer it when you park up, you do not know who may be watching you.

· Wipe the inside of you windscreen if you have had a Sat Nav attached – the ring left by the suction pad is a give-away that there may be a Sat Nav inside.

· Review how many CDs you have in the car. Reduce the number down and ensure you put them out of view when parked.

· Never leave your sports bag in the car – to you it may be a bag of sweaty clothes and trainers – to a thief it is a bag that may contain untold riches such as money, keys, a wallet, details of your home address and of course sports equipment to sell.

· To a thief your briefcase could contain valuable high tech electronic equipment, personal details about you, or other valuable information which they can sell on

· Similarly a handbag is attractive to a thief because it may contain keys, money, cheque book and possibly a cheque or credit card or mobile phone.

· A coat left in the car is attractive to a thief as it could have money or a set of keys in the pocket.

“I have heard of cars being broken into and a collection of change being taken, we even had a thief break into a car and steal a scarf and a set of gloves, during a cold spell during winter,” said George Stepney.

For further advice on vehicle security go to: http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/crime-prevention/helping-prevent-crime/vehicles/cars