Police warn for theft from vehicles

Police are already beginning to see an increase in thefts from vehicles and in a significant number of these cases the vehicles are being left insecure with personal items in full view.

As the warmer climes and longer days tempt us out to enjoy the delights of the Bay of Plenty, our relaxed and carefree attitudes also become a temptation to thieves.

Prevention Manager Inspector Scott Fraser: "In the majority of cases it is the smaller items that are attracting the thieves as they make easy pickings; items such as wallets, phones, sunglasses, coins and navigation systems.

"Our advice is simple; just remove the temptation. Lock up your vehicles and make sure that you take with you, anything that might appeal to a thief. If you can't carry it with you, at least make sure you stash it away from view."

The Bay of Plenty region also attracts a large number of tourists who are particularly vulnerable. People in a holiday mood tend to neglect the basic safety precautions that they would take at home. They also tend to become more relaxed and less aware when driving rentals instead of their own vehicles.

"Maps, luggage and tourist brochures on display are all invitations to thieves so if you see a visitor putting themselves at risk, give them a bit of friendly advice.

Don't let being a victim of crime be their lasting memory of New Zealand," says Inspector Fraser.

It's not only your cars that can be the target of thieves. The same security steps should be taken for vehicles such as boats and caravans.

Other steps to help protect your vehicles and property:

Always try to park in a safe location such as a secure, well-lit and well populated car park. At home park vehicles in garages or on driveways near security sensors where possible.

Make sure all the doors and windows on your vehicle are secure whenever your vehicle is unattended.

Never leave valuables on view in your vehicle.

Even small change for a parking meter may be enough to attract an opportunist thief. You could end up with a repair bill of hundreds of dollars all for the sake of a few coins.

If you return to your car to put purchases inside before continuing a shopping trip, make sure they are out of sight and you are aware of who is around when you put the shopping in your car.

Likewise if you move items from your car to your boot when you park up be conscious that a thief could be watching you.

As we use more gadgets in our cars the risk of theft increases. Don't leave GPS systems or mobile phone hands-free accessories on display. If you're GPS attaches to your windscreen hide it out of sight and wipe away and tell-tale marks on the glass.

Do not leave keys in ignitions or conceal spare keys in the vehicle.

Do not leave house keys in your vehicle.

Never leave any important documents in your car, especially anything that contains your identify and/or home address.

If you have an alarm on your vehicle always use it when unattended.

Car stereos can be hot property for a car thief. Try to ensure your system is security coded so that it will not operate once disconnected and display a sticker telling potential thieves that the equipment is security coded.

Marking any sound system with the vehicle's registration number is also recommended.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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