Counties Manukau Police are reminding motorists to take all precautions this weekend to avoid their car being stolen, after more than 30 cars were taken in the District between Friday 15 and Sunday 17 May.
District Prevention Manager Inspector Bronwyn Marshall says that while Police are constantly patrolling target areas and the number of stolen cars in the District has recently slightly decreased, it is still essential for the public to understand what they need to do to ensure their car is not stolen.
“When a car is stolen it affects someone’s whole life and their family. Police want to prevent car theft from happening and we can’t reiterate enough how important it is that everyone takes responsibility for their valuables and does what they can to ensure they don’t become a target for thieves,” says Inspector Marshall.
“We are consistently seeing reports of cars being stolen after being left unlocked or with valuable items on display. Opportunistic thieves will target vehicles which are easy to steal or have desirable items visible.”
In a recent survey of vehicles parked in a busy shopping area, nearly half of the 900 cars checked were found to have easy-to-steal items visible inside the car including handbags, laptops, shopping bags, sunglasses and GPS devices.
Police ask that all vehicle owners to take some simple steps to avoid their car from being targeted:
• Take valuable items such as handbags, laptops, wallets and cellphones with you when you leave the car
• Park your car in a well lit and busy location
• Always keep your car locked – even if you’re just popping into the shop for a second
• Put your car keys away in a hidden place when you are at home – don’t leave them in an obvious place such as on the kitchen bench
• Use a wheel lock or immobiliser
There are also a number of other ways to prevent your car from being an easy target, such as taking advantage of the Community Patrols NZ initiative “Safer Plates”, which involves replacing standard screws on licence plates with tamper-proof screws.
“Our community partners including Community Patrols NZ, Maori and Pacific Wardens and other neighbourhood watch groups are proving great support for Police and we are working with them and the rest of our community to reduce crime in our District.
“Information from the public is also vital for us to prevent further offending,” says Inspector Marshall. “Information you provide us could include observing someone trying to open car doors, loitering in a public carparks, acting suspiciously around cars in driveways or any other behaviour that appears unusual for the area. This should be reported to Police by calling 111 immediately.”
Over the past weekend, the type of cars most commonly targeted were the Mazda Demio and Atenza, followed by the Nissan Cefiro and Primera. Also targeted was the Toyota Hiace van.
Other vehicles currently targeted by offenders include late 1990s Nissan (Sunny, Primera, Bluebird), early 2000s Mazda (Demio, Familia) and Subaru (Forester, Legacy, Impreza).
“If you own one of these types of vehicles, we encourage you to be particularly vigilant with security,” says Inspector Marshall.
“The number of dangerous road incidents and more serious crime involving in stolen cars is particularly concerning for us and we want to eliminate the opportunities these thieves have to offend.”
A specialised organised crime unit within the Counties Manukau CIB to target vehicle crime is already having an affect on offenders, but Police will always require the cooperation of the public to reduce crime.
“We all have a role to play in reducing car crime – if we all do our bit to watch out for suspicious activity, we can make a big difference and significantly reduce the number of victims of crime in our community.”
Anyone with information on car crime can report information anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Issued by Kimberley Mathews/Communications Manager, Counties Manukau Police
021 192 0717