Having a car stolen is stressful, inconvenient and costly, particularly during the festive season.
However, it’s the unfortunate reality that many residents across the Lower Hunter will face, with motor vehicle thefts traditionally spiking over summer.
Mayors from the Greater Newcastle Area including Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Port Stephens have joined forces to reduce vehicle thefts in a region-wide initiative that aims to educate people about how to prevent falling victim to thieves.
“One of the biggest factors to motor vehicle theft is home break-ins. It’s common for a home burglar to steal car keys,” City of Newcastle Community Safety Facilitator Lisa Davis said.
“The majority of home burglaries are opportunistic, with burglars targeting houses they perceive as providing the easiest and quickest access points.”
Some simple tips for preventing motor vehicle theft include:
· Keeping your vehicle keys out of sight when you are at home
· Never leaving them near doors or windows
· Do not include your name and address on key ring tags.
In 2017, 50 per cent of stolen motor vehicles had been parked on the street and 37 per cent were taken from residential dwellings in Newcastle.
Getting in the habit of checking your keys are not still in your vehicle after taking the grocery bags inside can also help reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen.
Historically, televisions and computers were among the items stolen in home burglaries, however vehicles are now the most common target, with keys the sole item stolen in roughly 1-in-4 break and enter cases.
NSW Police has advised this trend for residential addresses is due to a shift in car theft practices, with thieves targeting homes to steal keys of vehicles, rather than pursuing vehicles in public areas as likely to be under surveillance.
City of Newcastle secured $15,000 of funding from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) to roll out a car theft prevention campaign which is supported by surrounding local councils.