Rotorua residents are being urged to secure their vehicles after a spike in car thefts by young joyriders.

Rotorua district prevention manager Inspector Brendon Keenan said there had been an increase in the number of vehicles stolen in Rotorua during the past three months.

"Often these can be coded as burglaries because the vehicles are stolen from driveways," he said.

"The vehicles are generally being taken by youth offenders who are taking the vehicles for a joy-ride and then dumping them."

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Keenan said Rotorua police had increased prevention activities with awareness flyers being delivered in the community, increased patrols and increased engagement with known offenders in response to this offending.

"We would encourage vehicle owners to get steering locks where possible with the other options being alarms and/or immobilisers."

The police's top tips to minimise the risk of car theft
• Always take your keys with you when you leave your vehicle.
• Always lock your vehicle when you leave it.
• Close all windows, including sunroofs.
• Park in well-lit areas if possible.
• Remove, or put out of sight, items like radar detectors because these can be targeted by offenders.
• Try not to leave valuables in your car. Thieves will break in for something as small as loose change.
• If you have to leave valuables in your car, make sure they are out of sight, but remember hiding them is not as safe as removing them.
• Don't leave documents with personal information or keys to your house/business/boat, etc, in your vehicle.

As always, if you see any suspicious activity – report it by calling police on 111.

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