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SWD LEAD Police warn motorists about unnecessary rise in vehicle crime
RESIDENTS are being warned they are wasting valuable police time and money by not protecting their vehicles and property from opportunist thieves.
Inspector Martin Peace, of Bishop Auckland police, said he is becoming increasingly frustrated at motorists not taking the time to lock vehicles and leave valuables out of sight.
In the last three weeks, 44 vehicles have been entered, of which 17 were not locked. Sat Navs and iPhones have also been taken after being left on show.
Over the last year 22 bicycles have been stolen and 18 of them were not secure.
Insp Peace said they had received a report from a lady recently who had her vehicle broken into, only for a few days later for her to call in with a second incident in which a child’s bike had been taken from her garage.
Both the car and the garage had been left unlocked.
“I am making an appeal to the public of Bishop Auckland and south Durham,” said Insp Peace. “The police cannot prevent crime on our own. People have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to secure their property.
“Insurance companies base their premiums on crime mapping. This can also be used by prospective house buyers when looking at property values. Even if a victim does not make a claim crime can still affect their insurance premiums.
“Police officers will be checking vehicles in residential areas. If a vehicle is left insecure officers have been told to make the owner aware regardless of the time of day.
“If that means knocking someone out of bed in the early hours of the morning then we will do it. I would rather officers educate the public than deal with the resulting crime.”
Motorists are also being urged not to give opportunist thieves a chance by leaving their vehicles running and unattended on icy morning.
Insp Peace said Bishop Auckland is the most crime free out of all the areas in County Durham year on year but warned people need to play their part to ensure this remains that way in the future.
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