POLICE are warning Rugby residents to be vigilant about leaving valuable items on display in vehicles.
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.
In a recent 24-hour period the following items were stolen from vehicles in Warwickshire three sat navs, two stereo systems, a bag containing a projector, a bag containing a lap top, an iPod and a handbag.
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 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.
Mr Stepney added: “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.
“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.”
For further advice on vehicle security visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org/crime-prevention/helping-prevent-crime/vehicles/cars.