We are investigating four car key burglaries that took place overnight in Southport and Formby between midnight Friday 3rd July and 08:00AM Saturday 4th July. In each case offenders gained entry by forcing the handles of rear patio doors/kitchen doors or drilling out lock barrels. In three incidents, cars were stolen from the driveways, after keys were found in the house.
Each burglary was attended by officers and has been followed up by CSI and PCSO’s who have conducted house to house enquiries today.
Additionally, a van which was stolen from an address in Crossens last night was later recovered in Lancashire and one man was arrested. On this occasion, the van owners flagged down a passing police car on patrol in the area, which was then involved in locating the van and offenders.
High value and prestige cars have always been targets for thieves/burglars. Criminals target cars themselves and also any items of value left inside them, like handbags, wallets, tools and Sat Navs. Vehicle registration plates are also sometimes stolen.
So what can you do to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of car crime? Follow these guidelines:
• Lock your car EVERY time you leave it – Cars with doors that have been left unlocked are being identified and targeted in the area. Get in the habit of clicking the lock on the fob TWICE to ‘deadlock’ the doors.
• Keep your keys out of sight once you have locked your vehicle. Keep keyless ignition gobs in a tin, away from doors and windows. Be aware that visitors to your home may notice where keys are left, and sneak thefts are common at both the front and rear of houses.
• If you have a car alarm, use it.
• For high value/prestige cars, take greater precautions such as trackers and immobilisers.
• For ALL vehicles, ‘low tech’ immobilisers like wheel clamps, gear stick or steering locks are an affordable method to deter thefts.
• Use a property marking system such as Smartwater, Datatag or similar to help deter thefts and identify stolen vehicles and parts.
• If you have a garage use it – break-ins of cars that have been locked away in the garage are almost unheard of.
• Add a garage/shed alarm.
• When out, park your car in a well-lit area.
• Especially do not leave ANYTHING OF VALUE in your car; Wallets phones, laptops/Ipads, satellite navigation systems etc. and always wipe the tell-tale marks off your windscreen that tell would be criminals that a sat nav ‘may’ be kept inside the vehicle.
• Don’t even leave a coat or plastic bag on a seat.
• Thieves hate two things; light and noise. So consider adding any measures that will light them up and draw attention to them.
• Remember, whatever the age or condition of your car, or motorcycle, it may still be a target for thieves.
• If you see suspicious activity around unattended vehicles dial 999 immediately.
There is also clearly a need to improve security of rear doors to homes. patio locks which secure the doors at night and when you are out are a good idea, as are vibration alarms that will alert you to anyone tampering with doors, windows.
Don’t give thieves the opportunity to make you a victim of vehicle crime. If you have any information about who is committing vehicle crime in your area or where stolen goods are being stored you can call the Police directly on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111