More than a quarter of all vehicles targeted by thieves in Lancashire are unlocked.
From expensive sat nav systems, laptops and phones to wallets, bags and clothes, ‘five seconds is all it takes to steal your valuables from an unlocked car’.
That is the message from Lancashire Police as the force launches an awareness campaign to tackle the problem and encourage motorists to lock up their vehicles.
In 2012, an ‘alarming’ 2,252 unlocked cars were targeted by thieves in the county.
This was 25.7 per cent of the 8,748 vehicle crimes reported across the region.
Chief Insp Steve Sansbury said: “It is alarming that so many people leave their car unlocked.
“Unlocked cars are easy targets for car criminals.
“If a passing thief sees something that may be of value inside a car, they will take their chances, especially if people make it easy for them by leaving their car unlocked.”
In the force’s Central Division, covering Preston, Lea, Fulwood, and the Grimsargh areas, there were 952 car crimes reported last year, 241 and 25.3 per cent of which were unlocked vehicles.
Western Division, which includes Kirkham, near Preston, and parts of Blackpool and Fylde, saw 1,219 cases of vehicle crime reported and 335 insecure vehicles - 27.5 per cent.
Eastern Division, which includes the Longridge area and parts of East Lancashire, had 1,898 cases of vehicle crime, 491 of which were unlocked, equating to 25.9 per cent.
In Northern Division, which includes Lancaster, Morecambe and Garstang, police said only 23.5 per cent of the 1,150 cars targeted, 270 vehicles, were unlocked.
But in the Southern Division, which covers Leyland, Bamber Bridge, Chorley and Penwortham, almost a third, 30.6 per cent, of the 1,643 cars targeted by thieves were said to be insecure, with 502 incidents reported to police.
Officers said they would be speaking to car owners to highlight the consequences of not locking their vehicles.
They will also be distributing postcards to residents featuring a stopwatch showing the five seconds it takes to lose valuables in a bid to remind them to lock up their cars.
Chief Insp Sansbury said: “Motorists also need to be aware that some insurance companies may not pay out for claims when the vehicle has been left insecure.
“They risk losing not only their car but also being forced to pay for a new one and higher premiums in the future.
“My message is simple. Lock your car and remove your valuables.”
Any information about vehicle crime can be reported to Lancashire Police on 101.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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