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80% increase in Canberra car break-ins – is this avoidable?

By Alexandra Craig - 4 August 2015 17

stock-car-theft-break

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).

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
80% increase in Canberra car break-ins – is this avoidable?
BenjaminRose1991 6:28 pm 09 Aug 15

A good way to tackle the issue is to work out why the thefts occur in the first place.

I think that the majority of thieves are financially challenged either being unemployed, underemployed, or in significant debt. As a society we should double-down on improving employment, helping those with debt, and help those with expensive addictions get off those addictions; reducing the need to get a few extra bucks by pinching valuables and reselling them to fund said addiction.

On a more practical front. Don’t keep anything of any real value inside your car.

I am always blown away by reports of missing laptops, phones, wallets, jewellery, etc after being left in cars. If it’s the case that these things are stolen in a moment of opportunity (i.e. just walked back into the house because you forgot something) then I can feel sympathy. However if you make it a point to store such items in your car on a regular basis then act surprised that at some point they were stolen – then you should have your head examined.

Antagonist 2:30 pm 08 Aug 15

Solidarity said :

If the glovebox and centre console are bare, leave them open.

Too bad if you have a light in your glove box to drain the battery overnight 🙂

I have only had one car broken into, which was in my driveway at the time. But these clowns wanted the whole car. They smashed out the rear quarter window to open the door before popping out the three internal lights. Then they pushed the car up the street and around the corner and tried to start it. Too bad for the thieving b****ards that I was in the habit of turning the LPG off at the LPG cylinder in the boot each night! Free tip there for anyone who runs LPG in their car …

HenryBG 12:12 pm 08 Aug 15

MonarchRepublic said :

Where are you getting $1,000 each from? To install security cameras you mean? Reasonable quality residential setups can be done for a couple of hundred. .

Rubbish. You need professional equipment, installed by a professional, with network access, storage, monitoring and maintenance. (Not dodgy chinese equipment off ebay that makes a call back home to HQ to file a daily report on your doings. If you don’t believe me, buy one; install it and observe the outgoing traffic to china through your home firewall.)

I was using a round figure of 100,000 for households, and even a Unit is a household that would need protecting from criminals. In actual fact, there are over 100,000 houses in Canberra, as well as close to 40,000 units.

If you want to talk about the ongoing cost of keeping 1000 scum in gaol, why not mention the ongoing cost of allowing them to roam the streets – the cost of insurance claims and uninsured losses, trauma, pain, grief and suffering, not to mention the social costs of having people live in fear and suspicious of their fellow-citizens.

No – locking up the known scum who commit 90% of all crimes would be an enormous benefit to society. (It is puzzling why lefties show so much support for crime and criminals. What is their problem?)
$60million is far too much of course, we should outsource our criminals overseas somewhere where gaoling them would be cheaper, just like we’ve done with illegal immigrants

tim_c 4:16 pm 06 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

A number of years ago two cars parked at my house escaped being broken into, because they had car alarms, despite one of the cars being filled with goodies. However, the same night the neighbour’s car, without car alarm, was broken into (smashed window) for 20 cents. If they had broken the windows on my car, it would have screamed loudly.

You might as well just install a little boy to cry “wolf” every time you get in. Almost invariably when a car alarm goes off, it’s because the owner of the car is to lazy and/or simple to understand how it works.

MonarchRepublic 12:06 pm 06 Aug 15

HenryBG said :

creative_canberran said :

HenryBG said :

Innovation said :

Installing CCTV might deter many of these events, .

So you are advocating we spend $100million building security systems to protect us from the 1,000-or-so known miscreants who commit 90% of these crimes.

Sensible security is security applied closest to the source of the threat: in this case, building a secure facility for the 1,000 known miscreants and locking them up in there would reduce Canberra’s crime rate by 90%.

If that would cost less than $100million then we are well ahead.
If it costs more than $100million, then you would have to balance that cost against the value of averting tens of thousands of victims of crimes.

I’m going to pre-empt any such analysis by saying we should just round-up all the scum and lock them up permanently so the rest of us can live in peace.

Not sure where you got that $100m figure from. But your alternative of just locking people up would have a starting price of $60m a year. Wise investment? Never.

100,000 households at $1,000 each. I’m quite certain it is an underestimate.

And last I looked, $60m < $100m.
With the added benefit that any scum kept in pokey won't be breeding more scum.

Where are you getting $1,000 each from? To install security cameras you mean? Reasonable quality residential setups can be done for a couple of hundred. And have you factored in that many households are part of apartment complexes, which would reduce the cost per household dramatically?

Finally – $60m PER YEAR, after a little more than a year and a half, is > $100m once off cost.

I believe that the courts do need to come down harder on offenders, and cameras can deter some offenders, and aid the identification of some others.

Your argument appears to be based on some very flawed assumptions.

HenryBG 8:10 pm 05 Aug 15

creative_canberran said :

HenryBG said :

Innovation said :

Installing CCTV might deter many of these events, .

So you are advocating we spend $100million building security systems to protect us from the 1,000-or-so known miscreants who commit 90% of these crimes.

Sensible security is security applied closest to the source of the threat: in this case, building a secure facility for the 1,000 known miscreants and locking them up in there would reduce Canberra’s crime rate by 90%.

If that would cost less than $100million then we are well ahead.
If it costs more than $100million, then you would have to balance that cost against the value of averting tens of thousands of victims of crimes.

I’m going to pre-empt any such analysis by saying we should just round-up all the scum and lock them up permanently so the rest of us can live in peace.

Not sure where you got that $100m figure from. But your alternative of just locking people up would have a starting price of $60m a year. Wise investment? Never.

100,000 households at $1,000 each. I’m quite certain it is an underestimate.

And last I looked, $60m < $100m.
With the added benefit that any scum kept in pokey won't be breeding more scum.

creative_canberran 2:38 pm 05 Aug 15

HenryBG said :

Innovation said :

Installing CCTV might deter many of these events, .

So you are advocating we spend $100million building security systems to protect us from the 1,000-or-so known miscreants who commit 90% of these crimes.

Sensible security is security applied closest to the source of the threat: in this case, building a secure facility for the 1,000 known miscreants and locking them up in there would reduce Canberra’s crime rate by 90%.

If that would cost less than $100million then we are well ahead.
If it costs more than $100million, then you would have to balance that cost against the value of averting tens of thousands of victims of crimes.

I’m going to pre-empt any such analysis by saying we should just round-up all the scum and lock them up permanently so the rest of us can live in peace.

Not sure where you got that $100m figure from. But your alternative of just locking people up would have a starting price of $60m a year. Wise investment? Never.

HenryBG 12:31 pm 05 Aug 15

Innovation said :

Installing CCTV might deter many of these events, .

So you are advocating we spend $100million building security systems to protect us from the 1,000-or-so known miscreants who commit 90% of these crimes.

Sensible security is security applied closest to the source of the threat: in this case, building a secure facility for the 1,000 known miscreants and locking them up in there would reduce Canberra’s crime rate by 90%.

If that would cost less than $100million then we are well ahead.
If it costs more than $100million, then you would have to balance that cost against the value of averting tens of thousands of victims of crimes.

I’m going to pre-empt any such analysis by saying we should just round-up all the scum and lock them up permanently so the rest of us can live in peace.

Innovation 11:08 pm 04 Aug 15

Installing CCTV might deter many of these events, particularly if the video feed is available to every apartment in the complex. Apart from the drug fuelled – who no longer care – nobody wants to be seen live committing their crimes or, at the least, later appearing on media seeking their identification.

Maya123 9:40 pm 04 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

A number of years ago two cars parked at my house escaped being broken into, because they had car alarms, despite one of the cars being filled with goodies. However, the same night the neighbour’s car, without car alarm, was broken into (smashed window) for 20 cents. If they had broken the windows on my car, it would have screamed loudly.

Can a thief break into a bicycle?

The whole bike is stolen.

dungfungus 7:50 pm 04 Aug 15

Maya123 said :

A number of years ago two cars parked at my house escaped being broken into, because they had car alarms, despite one of the cars being filled with goodies. However, the same night the neighbour’s car, without car alarm, was broken into (smashed window) for 20 cents. If they had broken the windows on my car, it would have screamed loudly.

Can a thief break into a bicycle?

Maya123 6:26 pm 04 Aug 15

A number of years ago two cars parked at my house escaped being broken into, because they had car alarms, despite one of the cars being filled with goodies. However, the same night the neighbour’s car, without car alarm, was broken into (smashed window) for 20 cents. If they had broken the windows on my car, it would have screamed loudly.

creative_canberran 5:53 pm 04 Aug 15

Solidarity said :

If the glovebox and centre console are bare, leave them open.

Pointless, any car thief knows the hiding places that people use. And then there’s the thieves who are interested in more substantial things like actual components. I wonder why car markers stopped making strengthened glove boxes. I remember in an old 89 Magna, it had a very heavy glove box door with proper lock. The effort you’d need to smash in there

Solidarity 12:16 pm 04 Aug 15

If the glovebox and centre console are bare, leave them open.

Evilomlap 12:01 pm 04 Aug 15

Oh come on Alexandra. You can’t possibly presume that no thief would be interested in a cake stand. There might be nothing more relaxing than ripping off a few fancy apartments, beating cash out of a few deadbeat dads, and then coming home to a nice stacked sponge.

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