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Lock them or lose them, Waikato Police warn Xmas shoppers

Lock them or lose them, Waikato Police warn Xmas shoppers

Hamilton Police want Christmas shoppers to put it in the boot- not just their stockings as they seek to protect the unwary from opportunist thieves looking for festive bargains this summer.

Area Commander for Hamilton, Inspector Greg Nicholls said with cash registers ringing across the City an unfortunate side effect was a boom in thefts from cars as well.

"Over the past 10 days (08-17 December) there have been 42 thefts from cars reported in Hamilton and in many cases, if vehicle owners had taken just a few basic steps, they could have avoided becoming victims.

"There's been no specific area targeted rather offenders are taking opportunities as they arise but at the Base in Te Rapa alone, a huge increase in vehicle traffic is expected to be moving through there each day attracting offenders targeting vehicles in the vast car parks despite the efforts of Police and security staff."

Mr Nicholls said some simple steps such as if you purchase Christmas gifts, locking them out of sight in your car's boot can be a simple but effective deterrent.

"Its a case of out of sight out of mind- well the offender's anyway, if they don't know valuables are there they are less likely to take the risk and target your car.

"And its not just during the build up to Christmas people need to be wary of, indications are that there will be about 25,000 shoppers drawn to the Base this Boxing Day with large numbers also expected in the CBD taking advantage of post-Christmas sales. What we're asking is that you lock your bargains away- least they become someone else's 'steal' of the day."

Here are some ways to protect your car and reduce the risk of being targeted by thieves:
At home
• Where available, secure your car in the garage at home and keep the garage locked
• If no garage available, park your car in the section behind the gate, make sure its locked and take any valuables out and if you can't secure them in the boot
• If you must park on the road, if possible park in a well lit area, ensure your car is locked and again, remove any valuables. Consider using an alarm, vehicle immobilizer or a steering lock
• Keep spare keys on you, secure them at home or work- don't leave them hidden on the vehicle, offenders will find them

In town or out shopping
• Lock your car including the boot and sunroof
• Park in busy, well lit areas
• Where available, park in secured, monitored car park facilities
• Avoid leaving shopping or valuables in your car, keep them out of view in the boot
• If you don't need them or can't carry them, consider leaving clothing, bags, i-pads, i-phones, tablets and gadgets at home or if you can't, secure them in the boot

Additional security options
• Record the serial numbers of your GPS or car stereo on databases such as those available on Operation Snap, (www.snap.org.nz)
• Install a car alarm and electronic engine immobiliser, which prevents the engine from being started
• Use a steering wheel lock, lockable fuel cap and wheel nuts
• Etch registration or Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) on car windows, windscreens or headlights.

"Lastly, Christmas is about sharing and spending time with loved ones, don't let a moment's inattention or the selfish actions of others negatively affect your holiday season."

ENDS

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