“Keep your car keys in a safe place, close all your windows and lock your doors to make it harder for crooks to steal your car.”
The ACT Government hopes this simple and somewhat obvious message to Canberrans will see a decrease in car thefts in the nation’s capital, a year after the ACT’s summer of car fires.
The ACT Government and ACT Policing have launched the “lock and hide to protect your ride” campaign this morning, a new awareness campaign aimed at outsmarting crooks.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said the ACT has some of the lowest property crime rates in Australia, but the campaign is meant to remind Canberrans to remain vigilant and to avoid being complacent.
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“Police officers have told us about the tactics offenders are using to steal cars and valuables and these are often crimes of opportunity,” Mr Gentleman said. “Offenders look for easy targets like open windows, unlocked doors and cars left running in the driveway.
“Our property crime reduction campaign will be rolled out over the next six months, with future phases raising awareness about how to make homes, apartments and small businesses more secure.”
Mr Gentleman said he is confident that the educational campaign will have an effect.
“We have seen the positive effects of community campaigns in the past and that is why we keep doing them,” he said. “So whether it be police outsmarting the offender or whether we are looking at the bushfire season, these campaigns do work.”
When asked if more police on the ground would instead deter criminals from stealing cars, Mr Gentleman said the $39 million police investment in the ACT budget will help police patrol more suburbs.
“We will see an increase in police on the ground in the ACT and on top of that we are looking at smart technology for police which allows them to be out in the community for longer than they are currently,” Mr Gentleman explained.
“Currently, they have to return to the station to sign off on jobs. With this new technology, they will be able to do that in their cars.
“It is important that we do continue to invest in ACT Policing and that is what the government has done this year.”
ACT Policing Chief Police Officer Ray Johnson said statistics show cars are more likely to be stolen from a car park than any other location, with driveways a close second. CPO Johnson said motor vehicle thefts have a flow-on effect, with the stolen cars potentially used in other offences.
“If we can reduce the theft of the vehicle in the first place, we might be able to reduce the impact in other parts of the criminality,” he said. “There are a number of things people can do to keep their car secure.
“Outsmart the offender by always taking your car keys with you, and when at home leave them in a safe place. If you leave home without your car, don’t leave your car keys in plain sight in your house.
“Car break-ins are often opportunistic crimes and could happen to anyone. Offenders are less likely to break in if they can’t see anything worth stealing so take the time to lock your doors, close the windows and don’t leave valuables in sight.”
ACT Policing’s tips to avoid car thefts and break-ins:
- Lock your car even if you’re only gone for a few seconds.
- Close all windows.
- Don’t leave valuables in the car like your wallet, phone or tablet even if it is locked, even loose change can tempt a thief.
- Don’t keep registration papers or anything valuable in the glove box.
- Never leave spare keys and garage remotes in your car (even if they are hidden).
- If possible, park in a garage, your backyard or carport rather than in your driveway or on the street.
- Be aware of where you are parking if you’re out at night, park in a secure carpark or an area that is well lit.
Click here to learn more about the campaign.