Northampton Community Safety Partnership is launching a crackdown to drive out vehicle crime in the borough.
Vehicle crime – theft of and from cars and vans – is a top priority in Northampton. During 2011/12 there were 1982 vehicle crime offences in Northampton: 1485 of those offences were thefts of items from vehicles, an increase of 18.5 per cent compared with 1253 thefts from vehicles in 2010/11.
And while Northamptonshire Police will be targeting criminals with enforcement tactics designed to disrupt their activities, a campaign is being launched by the Community Safety Partnership to remind people that they can reduce their chance of becoming a victim of crime by taking some simple steps every time they leave their car.
The message ‘Lock it, remove it or lose it’ will be spread across the town in a series of high profile bus ads, posters and leaflets, all to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to take care.
Police officers, PCSOs and Neighbourhood Wardens will also be patrolling in the town, visiting garages and supermarkets and dropping information through doors to spread the Operation Guardian message and combat vehicle crime.
The message is that thieves will target anything left in a vehicle and it challenges drivers to ask what they have left on show in their car.
The posters and flyers then give the five golden rules for cutting car crime:
· Always lock your car and close the windows, even if you are only leaving it for a few moments
· Remove all items from your vehicle when you have parked, even an old coat may be enough to tempt a thief
· Remove your sat nav, the cradle and suction pad and wipe any suction marks away
· Never leave the keys in the ignition, not even at a garage or when paying for fuel
· Keep keys safe when you are at home, or out and about
Councillor David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council and Cabinet spokesman for community safety said: "We want Northampton to be a safe place where residents feel confident and secure. Crime has been low in Northampton in recent years and we want to help that trend to continue by reminding people that there are some simple steps that can make the difference between becoming a victim of vehicle crime or not.”
Northamptonshire Police Crime Prevention Manager, Laura Major, said: "Whilst Northamptonshire Police continues to crack down on vehicle crime offenders, it is great to see the partnership working together to help combat this type of crime. This project follows the recent radio advertisement advising motorists to remove valuables from their vehicles. By taking some simple steps many vehicle crime offences are preventable, and we encourage residents to visit the crime prevention pages on our police website for detailed advice. "
The top ten items taken from cars are:
· Sat nav
· Car parts (such as catalytic converter)
· Registration plates
· Computer equipment
· Credit/debit cards
The Northampton Community Safety Partnership consists of Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire Police, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, Northamptonshire County Council, Northamptonshire Probation Service and other partners.