Be mind­ful as thieves lurk

Eastern Courier - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SE­NIOR SERGEANT MICHAEL SCH­MIDT

There are con­sis­tent mes­sages that po­lice push out to the public in an at­tempt to pre­vent crime and keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe.

One of th­ese is the need to ad­dress ve­hi­cle break-ins, both in shop­ping cen­tre car parks and ve­hi­cles parked out­side houses and on drive­ways.

Of­ten the crim­i­nal will tar­get ve­hi­cles where there is an at­trac­tor; some­thing left vis­i­ble or cov­ered by an ar­ti­cle of cloth­ing, or a blan­ket left on the back seat that will pique the of­fender’s in­ter­est and lead to the break­ing in of the ve­hi­cle.

A sweep of car parks will also re­veal a num­ber of ve­hi­cles left by own­ers un­locked de­spite nu­mer­ous warn­ing signs and the knowl­edge that po­ten­tial thieves may be op­er­at­ing in the area.

This level of ap­a­thy by the public con­trib­utes to this of­fend­ing. Peo­ple of­ten have the at­ti­tude, ‘‘it will never hap­pen to me’’, or they have parked there for years and noth­ing has hap­pened.

Re­gard­less, there’s al­ways a level of shock or dis­be­lief when vic­tims re­turn to their ve­hi­cles to find them bro­ken into.

While no one has been phys­i­cally hurt, it’s still an in­va­sion of pri­vacy.

The ma­jor­ity of us work hard for what we have and own and there’s noth­ing more frus­trat­ing to find a thief has taken ad­van­tage of that hard work, not to men­tion the in­con­ve­nience of hav­ing to get a win­dow or door lock re­paired, re­gard­less of whether in­sur­ance is claimed or not.

To avoid this hap­pen­ing to you: Never leave any valu­ables in your ve­hi­cle; try to park in ar­eas that are well lit and not iso­lated; if pos­si­ble in­stall and set an alarm in your ve­hi­cle; if at home, park your ve­hi­cle in the garage or well off the street, if it’s at all pos­si­ble; and en­sure you have recorded any se­rial num­bers for valu­able items that you may carry in your ve­hi­cle.

If you’re the vic­tim of this of­fend­ing, it’s im­por­tant to re­port the mat­ter to po­lice. This pro­vides valu­able in­for­ma­tion and in­tel­li­gence al­low­ing the de­ploy­ment of po­lice and com­mu­nity re­sources at the right time and lo­ca­tions for crime pre­ven­tion and hold­ing of­fend­ers ac­count­able.

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