POLICE are urging motorists to stop making life easy for thieves who target parked cars.
In Northumberland the number of cars broken into since April 2010 (608) has risen by almost a fifth – the comparable figure at this time last year was 516.
Of the 608 cars broken into, almost 200 of them were left unlocked by the owner.
Reports show that thieves tend to break into cars to steal sat navs, tools, cash and mobile phones more than any other items.
DCI Peter Reeve of Northumberland Area Command said: “Having your car broken into can be an intrusive and very stressful experience, with victims having to deal with insurance claims, repair bills and the feeling of knowing someone has been in their car and through their belongings.
“It’s a real disappointment to think that nearly 200 of these crimes could have been avoided if only the motorist had locked their car.
“If motorists are leaving tools, sat nav systems, MP3 players and other valuables on show then they are almost inviting thieves – who we know go around looking inside car windows and trying car doors – to get inside their car and take their property.
“This is where we need the public to play their part. I’d advise every motorist, regardless of where they live or where they park their car in Northumberland, to make sure anything of value is taken out of the car and that their car is locked when they leave it.”
Police are taking action to stop thieves by carrying out extra high profile and plain clothed patrols in car parks around the county and officers are speaking to motorists and giving crime prevention advice in communities.
Detectives are also targeting offenders that they know tend to commit these type of offences and those who receive, handle and sell on the stolen property.
To report a crime, or for crime prevention advice, telephone Northumbria Police on 03456 043043 – extension 69191.