Help us to drive down vehicle crime in Northamptonshire
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Now the clocks have gone back, and the longer hours of darkness have returned, officers from Northamptonshire are reminding the public of the simple steps they can take to protect their vehicles from criminals.
Theft of and from vehicles are acquisitive crimes, and are often associated with opportunists however, vehicle crime has become a lucrative business for criminals with the global shortage of car parts and cost of some metals.
A total of 878 vehicles were reported stolen across Northamptonshire, including 227 motorcycles, between November 2021 and October this year. There were also 2465 reported theft from motor vehicle offences including 165 catalytic convertor thefts during the same period.
As part of a new awareness-raising campaign, Northamptonshire Police will carry out high-visibility patrols in the county’s urban and rural communities supported by leaflet drops in hotspot areas by the Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets.
Details of any vehicle which is found to be at risk and a potential target for criminals will be checked, and the registered owner will be notified and provided with basic security advice to help keep their property safe.
Chief Inspector Scott Little, who is leading the campaign, said: “Most of us are dependent on our vehicle and rely on it to commute to work, do the school run, attend appointments, or visit people and places.
“Having our vehicle broken into and personal items stolen, or expensive parts taken by thieves or indeed theft of the vehicle itself, is not just an inconvenience. It can have a huge impact on our everyday life, independence, and personal finances at a time when we are all feeling the pressures associated with the cost of living.
“Police officers, staff and our volunteers will be patrolling and carrying out crime prevention leaflet drops in hotspot areas as well as acting on intelligence to target criminals, investigate crime and bring those responsible for causing misery to our communities to justice.
“As with all crime, we would encourage the public to help us by reporting any suspicious activity so we can act upon it. The eyes and ears of our communities in Northamptonshire are invaluable to us and we welcome any information that can help us tackle vehicle crime.
“Likewise, we would also like to remind people just how important it is to make sure their vehicles are secure and not to allow their belongings to become a temptation for thieves.”
Tips for protecting your vehicle and its contents:
• Remove valuable items from your vehicle before you get out. Sat navs, mobile phones, laptops, handbags, and other portable items are all easy to steal • Remove any suction marks from sat navs or phone holders, and remove power leads • Ensure all windows are closed and doors are locked, check the door handles before you leave your vehicle • Don’t ever leave your car unlocked when you nip into the shop or to pay for fuel • Registration plates can be attractive to steal, consider having tamper proof plates or screws fitted
Vehicle crime can take place anywhere, in a car park, at the side of the road, or even when your car is on your drive. Always lock your car before leaving it.
Tips to park safely are:
• In car parks - look for a car park that has ‘Park Mark’ accreditation. These car parks offer higher levels of security for your vehicle. Locations of these car parks can be found at www.parkmark.co.uk • On the road - park in a well-lit area that is visible to other people or covered by CCTV. Thieves are less likely to break in if they can be seen • On your drive - if you have gates on your drive, secure them. Check your vehicle is in a well-lit position either from streetlights and/or your home security lighting. Make sure your car keys are not visible in your home, keep them away from doors and windows
Anyone with information about vehicle crime is asked to report it by calling Northamptonshire Police on 101 or online via the www.northants.police.uk website. Always call 999 in the event of an emergency. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
More information and advice about how you can protect your vehicle and your belongings is available on the Northamptonshire Police website at www.northants.police.uk