Advice to motorists after more than 1,000 Northamptonshire vehicles stolen in one year

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More than 1,000 vehicles in Northamptonshire have been reported stolen within the last year, prompting a reminder to the public about how they can take steps to protect their belongings.

The joint Prevention and Community Protection Department (Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service) said basic security measures can help keep property safe.

From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, there were 1,175 vehicles reported stolen in Northamptonshire; an average of 98 per month.

During this time, there were also 3,464 thefts from motor vehicles reported to Northamptonshire Police.

Crime Prevention Officer Brenda Hart said: “Many vehicles seem so secure these days that I think a lot of people forget they can be vulnerable to theft.

“Too many people leave possessions on car or van seats.”

The force said drivers ought to not keep expensive items such as sat navs in glove compartments or leave bags and other valuables on display.

“Perhaps they’re not thinking that thieves only have to take a quick look inside and their belongings can suddenly become a target.”

Tips for protecting your vehicle and its contents

-Don’t leave anything on display in your vehicle. Even an old coat on the back seat can be a temptation for a thief to steal first - and then think about value later.

-When you leave your car, take your belongings with you. If you can’t and have no other option, then lock them in your boot.

-In particular, avoid leaving the following items in your car: mobile phones; laptops; credit and debit cards; cheque books; cash; vehicle registration documents and private mail (especially with your address on it).

-Security devices are a good deterrent for thieves, such as electronic immobilisers (which prevent cars from starting) and mechanical immobilisers such as steering wheel locks.

-When you leave your vehicle, always remove the ignition key and lock all doors. It only takes a few seconds for a thief to jump into your vehicle and drive away. This should be remembered at all times – even when paying for petrol or popping into a shop.

-Lock all doors and close all windows and the sunroof every time you leave your vehicle unattended, however briefly.

-Business drivers should also be on the alert for irregularities in loading procedures and report this if seen.

-Where possible, business drivers should use pre-planned secure overnight parking facilities and these should be decided before the journey is started.

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