Police and a community safety group have launched a campaign urging Shepparton residents to lock their cars to deter thieves.By Kaitlin Thals
Shepparton police and Community Safety Group members are urging residents to be vigilant when parking their vehicles in public, saying vehicle theft is an ongoing problem in Greater Shepparton.
Shepparton police Leading Senior Constable Robin Sharp, who is also a Community Safety Group officer, said the Christmas period was one of the worst times of the year for vehicle theft.
‘‘At Christmas, people are doing their shopping and some gifts are very expensive and some are cheap, but when they’re wrapped up the person doesn’t know,’’ Leading Sen Const Sharp said.
‘‘If the presents are sitting on the passenger cabin of the car in view, it’s an opportunity for someone to break into the car.
‘‘People don’t care how they break in, most of the time it will be a smashed window or through an open window, and then some people just leave the car unlocked, which is an invitation.’’
Leading Sen Const Sharp said vehicle theft was a preventable crime and they wanted people to think about how they could stop it from happening.
He said it was an offence to leave a vehicle unlocked and offenders would receive a fine.
‘‘Navmans and laptops are popular items that are taken, that’s stuff that is easy (for the thief) to get rid of,’’ he said.
Community Safety Group president John Ross said the group’s Lock it or Lose it campaign reminded residents to lock their vehicles and hide or remove any valuables that could be seen from outside.
‘‘People are losing a lot of stuff out of their cars and we’re trying to get it across to the public — when you’re leaving your car please check it before you go away and lock it,’’ Mr Ross said.
Another festive initiative by the Community Safety Group will be a letter box drop of pamphlets across Shepparton and Mooroopna.
The pamphlets will inform residents in close proximity to community property such as schools, parks, churches and council buildings to keep an eye out for illegal activity while they are not being used during the festive season.
‘‘We are asking you to look out for the property in your area and report any suspicious behavior to police,’’ Mr Ross said.
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