Northamptonshire Police is reminding motorists to ensure nothing is left on display in their vehicle to help prevent it from being broken into.
Thefts from vehicles traditionally rise at this time of year, with criminals often tempted into opportunistic crimes by property left visible inside, from bank cards to sat navs and phones.
As well as organising repairs, owners also have to deal with the loss of their possessions - if contactless bank cards are stolen, contactless transactions under £30 may still be possible, even after the card is cancelled.
Detective Superintendent Dennis Murray, Head of Investigations at Northamptonshire Police, said: “In previous years, late winter and early spring have seen a rise in the number of thefts reported from vehicles.
“Having your vehicle broken into is upsetting, expensive and time-consuming to deal with, so we make no apologies for repeating our simple, common sense advice.
“Our officers are committed to preventing all crime but we need people to do their bit too. Taking just a few easy steps to protect your vehicle and possessions really does help reduce the chance of this happening to you.”
Following some simple steps and getting into good habits every time you leave your vehicle will help reduce the risk of a break in:
- Before you get out, check there’s nothing left out on seats, the dashboard, console, door pockets or in footwells. If you can’t remove items from the car, lock them away in the boot or in a vehicle safe
- Close all windows, including the sunroof if you have one, and wipe away suction marks left by sat nav or phone holders as these may tempt thieves to break in to see if the device is still in the car. Put phone charging leads away for the same reason
- If your car has remote locking, always physically check the doors have locked before you leave it. Criminals nearby can use a jamming device to block the remote signal, leaving the car unlocked so they can get in once you have left
- Where you park also matters. If you park up in daylight and will be leaving your car until the evening or overnight, consider how the area may look in the dark – will it be lit, will it be busy or secluded? Most car thefts and break-ins happen at night
- Out and about, try to use car parks with Park Mark status. These have been certified as meeting minimum standards in layout, design, surveillance and controlled entry and exit. Parking in a secured car park can reduce the chances of vehicle crime by 70 per cent
- Always keep your car key safe and out of sight, well away from doors and windows. If you see any activity you think is suspicious, report it to police on 101, or 999 in an emergency