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Campaign to curb theft from cars

12 October 2005

Campaign to curb theft from cars

A campaign is being launched to clamp down on theft from cars in Mt Eden - a suburb the Police say is hard-hit by the crime.

The Park Safe operation aims to reduce the opportunity for thieves to steal from cars by encouraging motorists not to leave valuables in their vehicles.

The Safer Auckland City initiative may also see the introduction of intensified surveillance to gather information that will lead to the prosecution of offenders.

Last year around 8,000 cars in Auckland were broken into and the Police have identified Mt Eden as a hot spot for this kind of crime.

Mt Eden Community Constable, Tammy Dunlop, says the Park Safe campaign is a major initiative in local crime prevention.

She says signs will be erected in carparks in Mt Eden warning motorists not to leave belongings on display in parked vehicles. In addition, flyers will be distributed to residents and businesses advising them of the best way to protect their vehicles from theft.

"Police will also be working with the parking warden in the area and writing to motorists who leave valuables on display to warn them of the risks of this behaviour," she says.

Project planner for Safer Auckland City, Jennifer Coquilhat, says a recent survey of nearly 300 vehicles parked in the Mt Eden area showed that 15 per cent had valuable items on display.

"Thieves are opportunistic. If they can see it, they'll steal it. Empty vehicles are less likely to be broken into, so don't leave valuables in your car.

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"Having to deal with a smashed window as well as the loss of your belongings is stressful, time-consuming and expensive. It's worth taking the time to reduce your chances of being targeted," Ms Coquilhat says.

She says there are a number of key things motorists should remember: * always lock your vehicle * always take valuables, such as mobile phones, laptops and wallets, with you * never leave anything in the car that would reveal your identity * never leave your house keys in the car - thieves can track your address through your vehicle registration number. * never leave items, such as shopping or clothing, on display in a parked car * store items, such as bags or luggage, in the boot. Do this before you reach your parking destination, in case you are being watched when you leave your car.

Constable Dunlop says the Police are also urging people to report theft from vehicles.

"Many thefts from vehicles are not reported to Police, possibly because the stolen items are not insured.

"But we're encouraging people to report vehicle crime. We want victims of this crime to bring their cars into the Police station because they can be examined and the Police may be able to collect vital evidence.

"Details about the time and location of thefts can also give valuable information that may lead to the prosecution of offenders," she says. The Park Safe campaign will be launched at the Balmoral Police Station at 10.30am on Thursday 13 October.

The campaign will run in Mt Eden until June next year.

Safer Auckland City is a partnership between Auckland City, the Police, Ngati Whatua and the Crime Prevention Unit.

ENDS

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