Increase in break-ins prompts police warning

Lock your houses and cars.

That’s the message from police leading into the holiday period, after the recent increase in break-ins into homes and cars.

According to Far South Coast Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Kevin McNeil, many of the cars and homes thieves target are unlocked.

He said if people kept valuables secured, locked their cars and homes and made it harder for the thieves to steal, the number of break-ins would decrease.

The latest statistics from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) showed cars in the Eurobodalla were 40 per cent more likely than those in the rest of the state as a whole to be broken into.

The same can be said for 30 per cent of the shire’s homes.

Det McNeil urged residents to look out for their neighbours’ homes and cars, and for campers and caravaners to keep loose items, such as surfboards and fishing rods, locked up, as there is generally a spike in thefts from caravan parks at this time of year.

He also suggested people mark items to make them easily identifiable if they are  located after being stolen.

“All the theft at the moment is easy stuff,” he said.

Police believe most of the petty theft is by juveniles, but there have been adults caught as well.

Det McNeil said uniformed and plainclothes police have been patrolling the break-in hotspots.

“We’re targeting known people and putting police in patrols,” he said.

“And if anyone is out and about, report suspicious activity.”

Even car registration numbers, he said.

Police have also been raising awareness on the street.

“We know if we’ve got police in the streets and talking to the community, we’ve got a better chance of solving it.”

Det McNeil said more people were reporting crime, which is one of the reasons why some crime rates are increasing. He also said statistics were dependent on arrests and charges of suspects.

Recent statistics showed the number of thefts from retail stores had decreased, which Det McNeil said was because shopowners were taking more action with their security.

Police have been working with retail outlets and conducting operations to target theft from retail stores and deter offenders.

When a shoplifter is caught they are often issued with a banning notice from the store and/or shopping complex, which he said was also used as a deterrent.

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