In the last few months I have noticed a lot of people reporting stolen cars, smashed windows and thefts on various online community notice boards. I wasn’t sure if crime had spiked or whether online posts were encouraging more people to come forward.
ACT Policing recently confirmed that there has been an 80 per cent increase in thefts from motor vehicles, with around 850 break-ins in the last three months alone.
This is a huge number, and a pretty scary one. It’s hard to tell what has caused it, and people are speculating that it’s a handful of the same people responsible for every break-in.
I think the worst part about it is that there is really not much anyone can do to prevent their car being broken into besides not owning a car. There have been break-ins on the street, in driveways, in public parking lots, in secure parking lots, and even some break-ins were caught on CCTV with the offenders not concerned about being filmed.
You could put an alarm on your car, but that won’t stop the windows being smashed. You could also presume that removing all valuables from your car would deter thieves but that’s not so. A friend of mine had her car window smashed, and there wasn’t anything visible in her car, let alone any valuables. They smashed it and opened up the glove box and centre console.
A few months ago, there was a break-in to my secure parking lot. None of the cars were touched, but all the storage cages were wide open. This was on Easter Sunday, somewhere between the hours of 4pm and 10pm. When I left there was nothing amiss, and when I returned I noticed my storage cage open.
I looked around and every storage cage was open. It was a bit scary and it made me feel like my personal space had been violated. Nothing was taken from my storage cage as I imagine thieves aren’t interested in a bedside table, a bed base, or a cake stand, but I’m sure other residents probably lost a few bits and pieces.
It was reported to the police and I spoke to my body corporate about it, but I was disappointed that they didn’t send out a notice to residents to inform them. The only way into the garage is by key or by remote and in the past, people have broken in by following a residents car in. While there’s not a lot I can do about someone coming in with a key or their own remote, I try not to let cars in behind me that I don’t recognise.
Other than that, there is not a lot anyone can do to avoid their car being broken into. Every morning I go down to my car anticipating a smashed window.
I think it’s up to everyone to remain vigilant and if you see someone suspicious hanging around it’s worth putting in a call to the Police Assistance Line (131 444).