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Thefts from cars plague central city

Thefts from cars plague central city

Wellington Police are warning motorists to lock their vehicles and take valuables with them as thefts from cars continues to plague the city.

"The number of theft complaints being received is almost at epidemic levels," says Inspector Marty Grenfell, Wellington City Area Controller. "Vehicle crime accounts for 20 percent of the reported offending each year and thefts from vehicles make up the bulk of it."

A recent analysis of the inner city problem showed that in sixty percent of the reported cases, the owners had left their vehicles in purpose built car parking buildings.

"We’re getting increasingly concerned at the level of offending. The problem isn’t just confined to Wellington," Mr Grenfell says. "Vehicle crime, especially thefts from vehicles, is becoming a national pastime for some criminals."

Wellington Police and Wellington City Council have just spent three days assessing features of inner city carparks, devising strategies to make them safer and reduce the opportunity for thieves.

"Targeted enforcement is not the only answer," Mr Grenfell says. "We’re working closely with lighting experts, environmental designers and car parking operators to make things safer.

"The public however still needs to play their part by making sure they lock their cars and take valuables with them."

Council staff and police have been distributing crime prevention leaflets in car parks as a gentle reminder.

"It’s incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking for people who have taken sensible precautions only to find windows smashed or locks forced and items taken."

Laurie Gabites, Wellington City Council’s Safer City Coordinator, says the council is pleased to be working with police on addressing the problem.

"We want residents and visitors to the city to feel confident that when they leave their car in a parking building, the car and its contents will still be there on their return."

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