Driving down vehicle crime in Lowestoft this Christmas
A WARNING to motorists has been issued by police, urging them of the need to take extra security in their vehicles this December in an effort to raise awareness and to continue to reduce the number of offences of theft from vehicles across Suffolk.
In December 2009, 193 offences of theft from vehicles were recorded in Suffolk. In December 2008 this figure was 318; showing a 39pc reduction.
While the season is supposed to be about goodwill, there are opportunist thieves who view the festivities as a time of rich pickings. Motorists are being urged to take some simple crime prevention measures to reduce the risk of their vehicle being targeted by thieves:
• Select a safe and secure parking area, preferably a secure car park.
• Avoid parking in side streets or areas with poor lighting and blind spots.
• Take all valuables out of your vehicle, including Christmas presents.
• Do not leave anything on show. Remove the CD / stereo fascia and satellite navigation system and cradle and take them with you.
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• Take all items out of your glove compartment and leave it open so thieves can see it is empty.
• Using a wipe, remove any marks left on the vehicle windscreen by sat navs.
• Make sure all windows and doors are secure even when going to the ticket machine and never leave keys in the ignition.
Community Safety's Chief Insp Kerry Pauling said: 'It is still important to remind everyone that this is the time of year when the most people shop for presents and so thieves will be looking for opportunities to take what they can off your hands.
'Vehicle crime is often opportunist. A thief spots an item in a parked car, see this as an invitation, takes a chance and will smash and grab. 'Nobody wants to have their Christmas spoiled by their car being broken into.
'We are simply asking motorists to take just a couple of minutes before they leave their vehicle to remove all items on show, especially bags, coats and sat navs, to wipe away any telltale marks from the windscreen that the sat nav cradle has left behind and not to leave shopping in the vehicle while you carry on shopping.
'These few simple steps can significantly reduce the risk of your car being broken into and you becoming a victim of car crime. Have a happy and crime free Christmas and New Year.'
Members of the community are also being asked to help by reporting any suspicious people or activity to the police immediately using 999. Anyone with any information about those responsible for vehicle crime or the subsequent sale of the stolen property is asked to call Suffolk Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
LOCATION DEC 2008 DEC 2009
Suffolk 318 193
Ipswich 127 45
Lowestoft 20 23
Waveney 25 29
Bury 3 6
Sudbury 5 7
Haverhill 19 8
Newmarket 8 8