WHILE you are out shopping, so are car thieves.
That is the warning to Sunderland drivers today as police chiefs step up their campaign to slam the brakes on criminals.
Officers are warning it only takes seconds for an opportunist thief to get into an unlocked car or smash a window to reach in and snatch items that have been left on show.
Despite a 30.4 per cent drop in thefts from vehicles in Sunderland from 286 in 2010/11 to 199 in 2011/12, and an 11.5 per cent drop across the force area, officers claim motorists could be doing more to help deter thieves.
Assistant Chief Constable Greg Vant said: “While you’re out shopping, so are car thieves.
“Opportunist thieves are keeping their eyes peeled for sat navs left sitting on dash boards, designer sunglasses left resting on passenger seats and MP3 players left plugged into car stereos.
“Don’t let them get away with it. Lock your cars, take sat navs inside at night, remember to lock items such as sunglasses in the glove compartment and don’t make it easy for criminals.
“Officers are working hard to try and help motorists and deter criminals. However, people still need to do their part.
“Follow our advice and don’t make it easy for criminals.”
OFFICERS are urging Wearsiders to take note of the following advice:
•If you have a garage, keep your car in it overnight and when it’s not in use.
•Whenever you leave your car always lock all doors, windows and sun-roofs, even for a short time.
•Never leave items on show when you leave the car, especially any sat nav systems. This and the sat nav cradle should always be removed from unattended vehicles.
•Do not leave sat navs hidden in the car, and clean the suction cup mark of the holder from the window.
•If you must leave items in the vehicle, put them in the boot out of sight. If you buy a valuable item, never store it in the boot and then continue shopping.
•Think about where you park and use well lit places or secure car parks if possible.
THEFT from cars across Northumbria Police.
Sunderland – 199 (1.4.12 to 28.6.12) and 286 (1.4.11 - 28.6.11)
South Tyneside – 84 and 101
Gateshead – 165 and 161
North Tyneside – 120 and 99
Newcastle – 294 and 346
Northumberland – 180 and 184