Out of sight, out of mind, is the message from police, following a rise in local car crime.
Police are warning residents to remove bags, clothes, Sat Navs and other personal items from cars and vans in a bid to deter crooks.
“Most thieves are opportunistic and want to take as little time as possible to steal from a vehicle. Making the process as attention seeking and drawn out as possible – for as little obvious reward – means your vehicle is unlikely to be targeted.”
Police say their officers are “patrolling with a view towards protecting vehicles” but advise residents to take measures to protect their vehicles.
“We do not want you to be a victim of crime. Adopting one or more of the ideas above could make the difference for you.
They are particularly warning the owners of commercial vehicles, such as business vans, to take extra care in protecting their property.
People are advised to ideally lock their vans in garages overnight, but failing that, they can take other security measures, police say.
These include parking in well lit areas, leaving vans empty at night – or at least hiding valuables out of sight, and fitting window blanks to block the view.
“If you leave your commercial van on your driveway consider security lighting and CCTV options that work on PIR sensors.”
In addition, vehicle storage boxes can be bolted to the floor of the cargo area and “a vehicle alarm is a must”.
Older vans would benefit from having immobilisers fitted, police say, adding: “factory fitted locks are often good but can be improved with after market locking devices.”
Police also advise getting GPRS tracking systems to help track down stolen vehicles and marking property and registering it on www.immobilise.com to improve the likelihood of having stolen gear returned.
“We recover lots of stolen goods that cannot be reunited with owners!”
Catalytic converters can be protected at www.securebydesign.com.
Suspicious behaviour should be reported to police by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999.
You can report information anonymously by calling CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.