Friday, 27 July 2012

Thefts From Vehicles Increase

Police are urging drivers to remove all their property from their cars and vans following an increase in theft from motor vehicles. Officers believe quiet residential streets are being targeted across the borough but particularly in areas where there are high concentrations of street parking, such as Worcester Park, Stonecot and North Cheam.

Some vehicles are having their windows smashed to gain entry but some crimes show ‘no sign of forced entry’ which means the doors may have been unlocked. Police believe many crimes are being committed by opportunist thieves who are walking along the roads trying door handles to see if they can get lucky and find a vehicle unlocked.

Items being taken typically include mobile phones, i-pods, laptops, shopping bags and even loose change, which may be in the centre console to pay for car parking. Vans are being targeted for tools, especially high value electrical equipment.

Police are carrying out both uniform and plain clothes patrols every day to deter motor vehicle crime as well as carrying out stop and searches on individuals to disrupt criminal activities. 

In addition, Safer Neighbourhoods Teams are running special operations in targeted streets and talk to residents who have left their vehicles insecure or with items on display inside.

Sutton Crime Prevention Officer Duncan Harris urged all drivers to make sure their vehicles are locked. “If you lock your car with a key fob, check the doors are locked before leaving the vehicle,” he said. “Drivers can inadvertently press the unlock button on their key fob as they walk away from their vehicle or when putting their key fob down inside their home. Drivers are often surprised to know their key fob can still operate even when some considerable distance away from their vehicle.”

PC Harris also urged drivers to remove all property from inside their vehicle including the Sat Nav. “You greatly reduce the chance of your vehicle being targeted if you remove all items from inside,” he said.

The number of thefts from motor vehicles increased by 11.3% during the period 1st April - 15th July 2012. In contrast, there has been a decrease in theft of motor vehicles by 48% during the same period.

If you see anyone acting suspiciously or a crime being committed, call police immediately on 999. If you want crime prevention advice, please contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team. Visit: