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Car thieves can take you for a ride

You may be the proud owner of an expensive vehicle, worthy of jealousy and centre of attraction.

Perhaps you drive an old model of a car without attracting any notice.

In both cases, you and your vehicle would be vulnerable targets for burglars and anti-social elements.

Thieves do not care about the condition of your car; all they want is to use it as a gateway and equally worse, break-in and take away valuables.

There have been cases of GPS sets, mobile phones, laptop computers, handbags, sensitive and important documents such as bank statements and passports reported as stolen from cars.

Wheels and side-view mirrors are also among the targets.

Victims of most thefts pay for their carelessness and suffer loss of money, embarrassment and inconvenience.

New Zealand Police say that vehicle crime is common, comprising a number of related activities.

Common crimes

“Theft of vehicles and theft from vehicles are the two most common types of crime in the country. Vehicles can be stolen for a number of reasons, including ‘joyriding’, to commit other crimes or to be broken up for parts for sale on the black market,” he said.

Thieves gain entry to vehicles primarily by forcing locks or smashing windows.

Auckland City Police officials said that common sense with basic precautions could prevent theft of cars and theft from cars.

Basic precautions

“Keep your vehicle keys with you and spares keys at home or work. Do not hide a spare key in the car because thieves would find it. Always lock your car, including the boot and if applicable, the sunroof. As far as possible, park your car in busy, open and well-lit areas,” they said.

The Police have also recommended parking in secure car park facilities.

“If you garage your vehicle at home, ensure that the garage and car are locked. Do not leave valuables in the car or at least do not leave them visible for others when you are away. It is advisable to maintain a record of serial numbers of stereo and any other expensive equipment fixed to the vehicle.”

Among their other recommendations were (a) installing a car alarm (b) installing an electronic engine immobiliser (c) using a steering wheel club or lock, lockable fuel cap and wheel nuts and (d) etching the Registration or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on windows, windscreens and headlights.

“Motorcycle theft can be prevented by keeping the keys with you at all times, using an ignition or steering lock and using a strong, thick chain and ‘U’ lock. Keep the chain off the ground to make it harder to cut,” the officials said.

Issued by Neighbourhood Support New Zealand. Phone 0800-463444

Website: www.ns.org.nz

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